PEEK

Coleman Threatens to Derail Recount, Secretary of State Expects Resolution

Entering the final stages of the Minnesota recount process, Sen. Norm Coleman has made some dramatic moves meant to improve his long-shot chances.

Entering the final stages of the Minnesota recount process, Sen. Norm Coleman has made some dramatic moves meant to improve his long-shot chances. In the process, the Republican Senator is threatening the conclusion of the election.

On Monday, the Minnesota Republican identified a scant 136 wrongfully rejected absentee ballots (out of 1,346) that he wanted to be counted in the final tally. In addition, Coleman proposed to add 700 contested absentee ballots for review (Al Franken proposed adding 85), suggesting that he is more interested in reclaiming the lead rather than operating in good faith. Since resolution of the absentee-ballot issue is dependent on both campaigns and local officials agreeing on which votes should be reconsidered, Coleman's actions threaten to derail the delicate path on which the recount process had set.

As the Associated Press reported on Monday, "Coleman's proposed additions skew heavily toward suburban and rural counties, where he did best in the election."

And yet, as suspicious as the moves seem on the surface, local officials kept a calm veneer. Reached by phone, Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie tried to assuage concerns that Coleman's actions would endanger any short-term consensus on a Senate winner. Stating, simply, that he expected both campaigns to be "amenable" during this stage of the recount, Ritchie described the Coleman campaign's move on Monday as just another step in a meticulous process of declaring a final vote official.

Sam Stein is a political reporter at the Huffington Post, based in Washington.
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