Board Unanimously Rejects Franken Petition to Include Rejected Absentee Ballots in Recount
1:29 PM, Nov 26, 2008 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
Here's where things stand in the Coleman-Franken recount. With 82 percent of the ballots recounted, Coleman leads Franken by 243 votes, but--and this is a very important but--both campaigns agree that Coleman's lead is smaller than that.
The Coleman campaign has challenged 1,897 ballots, while Team Franken has challenged 1,806. Almost all of Coleman's challenges will go to Franken or neither candidate; almost all of Franken's challenges will go to Coleman or neither candidate. But both campaigns agree that Coleman has challenged a larger number of ballots that will end up going to Franken in the end than vice versa.
After 79 percent of the votes had been recounted, the Coleman camp claimed their candidate's lead was about 180 votes, but the Franken camp said Coleman's lead was only 84 votes. This number, Team Franken said, reflected the "election judge's actual calls from the table" at each recount site. It is highly unlikely that a significant number of election judges' rulings will be overturned by the canvassing board.
If the Franken campaign has resorted to telling the truth, and Coleman's lead is actually 84 votes, Coleman would still be on track to win when the entire recount process has finished. If Coleman's lead dropped from 215 to 84 votes, that translates into a 61 percent decrease in Coleman's lead after 79 percent of the votes had been recounted.
To catch Coleman, Franken would have to pick up votes at twice the rate he has thus far among the share of ballots yet to be recounted. Even though a large chunk of Minneapolis haven't been recounted, it seems unlikely Franken will pick up the votes he needs because all of the ballots from the Democratic strongholds of St. Paul and St. Louis County (where Duluth and the Iron Range are located) have already been recounted.
But the Franken campaign will almost certainly go to court in an attempt to include rejected absentee ballots. The issue could be decisive. John Fund sketches out the arguments of both campaigns in today's Wall Street Journal