As of last night, with 98 percent of votes recounted, the Franken campaign's internal numbers showed Franken leading Norm Coleman by 10 votes. But Franken is ahead by 10 votes only if you assume (1) the Franken campaign's internal numbers--which Coleman's people dispute--are accurate and (2) that "133 mystery ballots that may or may not have disappeared in Minneapolis" turn up and give Franken a net gain of 46 votes. Yesterday, in one Minneapolis precinct, 133 fewer ballots were counted than the number of votes reported on election night. It's not entirely clear if these ballots ever existed in the first place--election officials could have erred in their counting on election night--but the Franken camp is pushing for a "forensic search" to discover these ballots. If these 133 votes do not turn up, Franken--by his own campaign's estimation--is behind by about 36 votes. The hand recount will end tomorrow, and then the state canvassing board will meet on December 16 to begin ruling on challenged ballots. If these 133 "missing ballots" are not found, the Franken campaign is likely to challenge the election results in court or in the U.S. Senate. The Franken camp is also likely to challenge election results if rejected absentee ballots are not included in the final count.
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