As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Monday, December 15, 2008

I Believe He Is Both Good Enough And Smart Enough

Al Franken increasingly looks to be the next Senator from Minnesota, occupying the seat once held by Paul Wellstone. Before today there looked to be around 6,500 ballot challenges that the Canvassing Review Board would have to go through. The more frivolous ones were called down over the past couple days, and Franken is favored with those remaining, says the AP.

While the ultimate calls rest with the five-member Canvassing Board, the AP found that most of the ballots have clear intent and no deficiencies for which they would be disqualified under Minnesota law.
The AP's examination of the remaining challenges found:

• Fewer than half of the challenges left-about 1,640-are in genuine doubt. Still, that's eight times more than the current margin between the two men.

• In ballots that could easily be assigned, Franken netted 200 more votes than Coleman. But that number was essentially meaningless because Coleman has withdrawn significantly fewer challenges than Franken-that is, the pool of challenges that can be awarded to Franken at this stage is notably larger.

• Nearly 300 challenges wouldn't benefit either man because the voter clearly favored a third-party candidate or skipped the race.

• Of the challenges that can't be reliably awarded to either candidate now, more than 400 possible Franken votes are being held up because on grounds that those voters identified their ballots through write-ins, initials, signatures, phone numbers or some other distinctive marking. At least 300 possible Coleman votes are in limbo for the same reasons.

• The next biggest class of ballot that can't easily be awarded falls in the category of unclear voter intent. Nearly 600 involve cases where a voter filled in two ovals but crossed out one, put an X above or below their darkened oval or put differently sized partial marks in more than one. There are slightly more potential Franken ballots in that pile as well.

This looks to be something like a 200-350 vote gain for Franken, and he's currently down by 188-192 votes, depending on what count you believe. Chris Bowers says it's over:

So, Franken will almost certainly take the lead after this phase of the recount. After this phase, all that is left are 1,600 absentee ballots that have yet to be counted, and which projects to another Franken gain of 128 votes. While Norm Coleman is challenging these ballots in court, two Republican members of the Supreme Court were part of the unanimous canvassing board ruling to include these ballots. So, good luck with that lawsuit, Norm.

Add it all up, and Franken seems like the next Senator from Minnesota. There does not appear to be anything Coleman can do to stop that now. Franken is going to win this thing.

This really didn't look good at various points in the count, but Minnesota's elections board has done yeoman work assuring that every vote is counted accurately, and I can't see them pulling back from that principle at any point. Franken appears to have pulled it off.

Great news.

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