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December 02, 2008

Eesh: Franken Claims Coleman Lead Down to 50, and That Doesn't Include the Most Recent "Suddenly Discovered Uncounted Ballots"

Don't panic -- he's made statements like this before. Preparing the public, perhaps, for a court challenge or Senate choice of Franken over the true winner. These estimates seem based on what he expects to happen, not actual counted votes.

So discount this heavily, unless confirmed by independent sources... which still put Coleman's lead at around 340.

Minnesota Democrat Al Franken’s lead attorney said Tuesday that his count shows the comedian trailing Sen. Norm Coleman by just 50 votes with more than 200,000 left to be counted.

Attorney Marc Elias held his press conference in Washington just hours after elections officials found nearly 200 ballots that had not been counted on election night.

So far, the Franken campaign claims to have picked up 165 votes in the hotly contested recount. That number, Elias said, includes all ballots challenged by both campaigns, assuming any calls made by neutral election judges on the scene are accurate. Coleman’s campaign has challenged approximately 300 more ballots than Franken’s, leaving those votes off the official tally posted on the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website, which shows Coleman leading by 340 votes.


Elias said the Secretary of State’s office estimates that at least 500 ballots were rejected without cause, though the Franken campaign thinks the number is closer to 1,000. Franken’s campaign intends to question the cause of those ballots’ rejection, citing some elections officials who have admitted the ballots were mistakenly set aside.


The uncertainty of the recount was evident again Tuesday as Ramsey County elections officials found an additional 171 ballots that hadn't been counted on election night. A broken voting machine had been replaced, but those who used the first machine never had their ballots recounted. Elias said the missing ballots were an example of why the recount needed to continue, though he refused to comment further.

The new discoveries are likely to shrink Coleman’s slim lead. Ramsey County, centered in St. Paul, gave Franken a 52 percent-to-34 percent margin, with Independence Party candidate Dean Barkley pulling 13 percent of the vote. The ballots were found in Maplewood's Precinct 6, which favored Franken over Coleman, 45 percent to 39 percent on Election Day.

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posted by Ace at 06:32 PM

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