Friday, November 21, 2008

It's going down to the wire. Coleman- Franken race could be decided by less than 100 votes. And Soros raising money for Franken.

The focus of political attention in Minnesota is of course on the Coleman and Franken recount. At the start of the recount, Coleman held a 215 vote lead out of over 2.88 million votes cast for US Senate candidates in Minnesota. Now, with 46% of the votes recounted, Coleman's lead is down to 136 votes. Of the 46% recounted there are 826 ballots challenges by the Franken and Coleman campaigns.

If the ratio of lost votes holds up for the remaining 54% of votes yet to be recounted that would bring Coleman's lead down to 43 votes.

One of the more interesting comments about ballot challenges was made by the state's foremost election expert. According to Joe Mansky, Ramsey County elections manager who formerly worked for the Secretary of State's office from 1984 to 1999 very few vote overturns occur.
The number of challenged ballots continued to increase Thursday, reaching 823. Mansky -- who worked from 1984 to 1999 in the secretary of state's office and is widely considered the state's foremost elections expert -- said that people shouldn't expect many of those challenges to bear fruit.

"I can only remember two ballot challenges in all those years that were sustained," he said, meaning that the campaign lawyers' views prevailed over the opinion of election judges.

He said he wouldn't be surprised if campaign lawyers negotiate a reduction in the number of challenged ballots before the Canvassing Board meets next month to go through them.

However things turn out the final result will be very close and likely in court. And it appears to me that Franken's campaign is setting up a court challenge by their efforts to get to people whose absentee ballots were rejected.

The lesson to be learned, as it was in the 2000 presidential election, is every vote is important. Voters should never presume their votes don't matter.

In related matter, it was interested seeing liberal billionaire George Soros held a fundraiser for Al Franken in New York City. He's been in the middle of efforts to politically move the United States in a left wing direction.

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