The final day of recounting in Ramsey County in the U.S. Senate race kicked up controversy today when 171 uncounted ballots from Maplewood turned up. The
ballots apparently had been uncounted because of a ballot-counting-machine malfunction on Election Day.
Democrat Al Franken made a net gain of 37 votes from the ballots, as he got 91 of the total, to 54 for Republican Sen. Norm Coleman and 26 for other candidates, including Dean Barkley of the Independence Party.
At a press conference earlier today, Franken's lawyer Marc Elias said the margin, by their count, was down to 50 votes:
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.
We won't know who won this race for awhile. It will come down to the ballots challenged during the recount process. As of last night, Coleman had challenged 3067 ballots while Franken had challenged 2876. The five-member canvassing board will review those challenges beginning December 16th. Franken's lawyer also said today that most of the challenges wouldn't hold:
“I’m here to tell you that the vast majority of these challenges are going to be thrown out,” Elias said. “We’re confident that we’re going to gain votes when the challenges are resolved.”
The 50-vote lead of which Franken's lawyer spoke did not include the 37 new votes. That would mean the margin is down to 13 votes. We may yet see Senator Al Franken.