Recount recap

  • Updated: December 27, 2008 - 11:04 PM

RECOUNT RECAP

A summary of Minnesota's U.S. Senate race so far:

THE MARGIN

Unofficially, DFLer Al Franken has a 46-vote edge over Republican Sen. Norm Coleman, out of about 2.9 million ballots cast. When the recount began, Coleman led by 215 votes.

UNRESOLVED ISSUES

Mistakenly rejected absentee ballots: According to the Franken campaign, county election officials have submitted a list of 1,350 absentee ballots that may have been improperly rejected. The Supreme Court has ordered election officials, together with the two campaigns, to set up a process for identifying and counting absentee ballots that all agree were wrongly rejected.

Ballots that all agree were mistakenly rejected must be sent, unopened, to state election officials by Jan. 2, and the secretary of state's office must open and count them by Jan. 4.

Withdrawn ballot challenges: The campaigns have withdrawn thousands of ballot challenges that they made during the recount, but the votes have not yet been officially added to the results. A draft report of how the votes would be allocated was prepared, but the campaigns say it contains some errors. The Canvassing Board is scheduled to meet Tuesday to allocate the votes. Franken's 46-vote advantage is based on the draft report.

Duplicate ballots: The Coleman campaign contends that 130 to 150 ballots may have been counted twice because of errors that occurred when duplicate ballots were made for originals that couldn't be fed into voting machines. The campaign says that in those cases, both the originals and the duplicates may have been counted. Although the Supreme Court on Wednesday declined a Coleman campaign request to have local canvassing boards resolve the issue, the campaign could still make its case in a post-recount court hearing.

KEY DATES

Tuesday: State Canvassing Board takes up allocation of votes from withdrawn ballot challenges.

Friday: Deadline for local election officials to send to the state all absentee ballots that they and the two campaigns agree were mistakenly rejected. They'll actually be sending the unopened envelopes containing the ballots.

Jan. 4: Deadline for secretary of state's office to count the absentee ballots and report results.

Jan. 5: State Canvassing Board meets.

Jan. 6: U.S. Senate convenes in Washington. State Canvassing Board will meet again in St. Paul, if necessary.

JIM KERN

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