Democratic senatorial candidate Al Franken has “unexpectedly picked up 37 votes due to a combined machine malfunction and human error on Election Day.” Today, Franken’s counsel Marc Elias said Franken is now up 22 votes, with “approximately 138,000 ballots left to count.” “This would be the first time that Franken has claimed a lead in this drawn-out process,” notes TPM.
However the Franken campaign has also faced a setback, they are now voicing concern about missing ballots. Yesterday the Franken campaign put out a press release alleging that 133 ballots are missing from a single precinct -- which just so happens to be a solidly-Dem precinct right in Minneapolis -- and calling upon the city's elections director to keep the recount officially open until this matter is resolved.
The county's initial election returns showed that Franken had a lead of 495 votes over Coleman, a nearly two-to-one-lead in this single precinct (Ward 3, Precinct 1). If these missing ballots are not recovered, it is quite possible that Franken could sustain a net loss in the vote count that would be enough to undo the campaign's claim of a 22-vote lead from this morning. The Star Tribune has some more info on this -- including the key number that Franken stands to lose a net 46 votes if these apparently misplaced ballots are not recovered.