Minnesota Board To Rule On Rejected Absentee Ballots

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The plot thickens…

The state’s five member Canvassing Board, which oversees the recount, is meeting to decide how to deal with thousands of absentee ballots that are not included in the recount. Franken’s campaign says the ballots were wrongly rejected, and that about 6,400 ballots were wrongly disqualified. Coleman’s team says the board doesn’t have the authority to include the disputed ballots in the recount.

The hearing comes as the number of ballots being challenged by both camps grows. Just over 80 percent of votes cast in the state’s Senate race have been recounted, in a process that could continue into next month.

Unofficial results from the November 4 election put Coleman, a freshman Republican senator, just 215 votes ahead of Democratic challenger Al Franken, known across the country from his days on Saturday Night Live and from his years as a talk show host on progressive radio network Air America. The slim margin for Coleman, far less than one-half of one percent, triggered an automatic recount, the first time there’s ever been a recount of a U.S. Senate race in Minnesota.

Recently, Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight said that Franken would win by 27 votes without these absentee ballots, but I don’t think that’s likely given that Coleman is up by more than 100 with very little of the actual ballots left to recount. So it makes sense that Franken is trying try to challenge whatever he can, but as I’ve said in the past about this election, the winner will most likely be the candidate with the best lawyers.

Ultimately, I think it’s sad that we can’t know for certain how many votes were cast for one person or another in tight races like this. There has to be a better way.