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Senate Ballot Recount Ends, But Contest is Far From Over

December 8, 2008

The state canvassing board will begin reviewing contested ballots this week in the senate race between Norm Coleman and Al Franken. But even the conclusion of that process is not likely to determine the winner. Paul Demko, political writer for the online Minnesota Independent, says the only way the decision stays out of the courts is if the loser decides to accept the outcome.

"It seems unlikely, given how contentious this has been from day one, from before there was any such thought of recounts, throughout the campaign."

The campaigns have challenged more than six thousand ballots since the start of the recount. Each campaign withdrew about a tenth of those to lessen the work of the canvassing board.

DFLer Franken questions a discrepancy of more than 130 ballots in a heavily democratic Minneapolis precinct. The campaign previously lost a bid to count absentee ballots submitted after the deadline. The Indpendents' Demko says there are plenty of scenarios that take the battle to the courtroom.

"It could end up in federal court, it could end up in state court, it could be over challenged ballots, it could be over rejected absentee ballots. We’ll just have to see how that plays out."

Since the recount start, Coleman has increased his lead of about 200 votes out of nearly three million cast. But the number of challenged ballots makes the final outcome unknown. The Franken campaign maintains their candidate has a razor thin lead according to their count of disputed ballots.


Art Hughes, Public News Service - MN