Al Franken's Senate campaign is asking Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie to instruct all counties to redouble their efforts to find missing ballots.
“There are votes in Minnesota that aren’t even being accounted for, much less being counted,” spokesman Andy Barr told reporters at a press conference at Franken headquarters in St. Paul this afternoon.
Franken’s recount attorney, Marc Elias, said the campaign had become aware of the problem in the last few days from reports in the press as well as from campaign workers in the field. “Ballots have gone missing,” Elias said, calling it “a serious matter that is very concerning.”
He named more than a half dozen instances — from St. Paul to Duluth, and Crystal to Apple Valley — where the recount has turned up discrepancies between the number of recorded votes and the number of ballots county officials have been able to produce. And besides the cases reported in the news media, Elias said, the campaign’s own information indicates “this problem may be even more widespread.”
“In an election this close we cannot let any lawful vote go uncounted, and neither can we allow ballots to simply go lost,” Elias said.
Elias said the campaign’s letter to Ritchie would ask him to “launch an investigation to identify any and all missing ballots, and to immediately instruct local elected officials to redouble their efforts to find all missing ballots.”
As for the recount itself, Elias said the Franken campaign’s internal numbers, based on the judgment of the recount officials rather than challengers from either campaign, indicate that “the margin remains in double digits. In fact, it has narrowed since Friday.” He said that included ballots recounted on Saturday but not today. Official figures as of Saturday night had Coleman ahead by 167 votes with two-thirds of ballots recounted.
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