The ever-increasing number of challenged ballots in Minnesota is making it more and more difficult to determine the extent to which Al Franken is in fact gaining, though the evidence is that he has been gaining on incumbent Norm Coleman. The Minneapolis Star Tribune (Minnesota's largest paper) says the margin is now 136 votes, but there are a lot of numbers being thrown about. The Franken campaign has made claims that the margin has dropped into double digits, and the majority of ballots left to recount are from Franken-skewing precincts in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
An analysis by FiveThirtyEight.com of precinct-by-precinct returns available on the Secretary of State's website, however, suggests that Franken's position is really good. This analysis points to the fact that in precincts where no challenges have been issued (these are the only precincts in which, in some sense, the results of the recount can be considered to be final and "official") Franken has gained a total of 34 votes, and Coleman a total of 6 votes, for a net gain by Franken of 28 votes. Moreover, in precincts where just 1 challenge has been issued, Franken has gained a net of 31 votes on Coleman, and in precincts where exactly 2 challenges have been issued, Franken has gained a net of 32 votes on Coleman. By contrast, in precincts where 5 or more ballots have been challenged between the two campaigns, Coleman has gained a net of 57 votes on Franken. Basically the more challenges there are, the longer this process will be. Because it is now apparent that Norm Colemans strategy is if they don't like a ballot, they're going to challenge it.
But are these challenges legitimate?
Here's a video from the Uptake detailing some of the ballots the Coleman campaign is claiming should count for Coleman. This falls under desperate much?