Minnesota Update: Not Looking Good for Al Franken?

Election '08

Norm Coleman now leads Al Franken by 231 votes according to the Star Tribune which is 16 more than he started with prior to the recounting. Of course the "real" margin has been almost entirely obscured by the more than 3,600 challenges lodged by the two campaigns. Nevertheless, I am not optimistic because county-by-county results show a clear pattern: the candidate who challenges the most ballots in a county is the candidate who has gained votes in the county. Here are some examples:

CountyWho Gained & How Much?Who Challenged More Ballots?
AitkinColeman by 3Coleman by 2
AnokaFranken by 23Franken by 30
BeckerColeman by 39Coleman by 37
BrownFranken by 4Franken by 3
CarltonColeman by 23Coleman by 27
CarverFranken by 8Franken by 11
DakotaFranken by 13Franken by 10
HennepinColeman by 27Coleman by 34
MeekerFranken by 43Franken by 44
StearnsFranken by 19Franken by 15
WashingtonColeman by 12Coleman by 8

There are exceptions to this pattern, mostly counties with a small number of challenges and very small gains or losses. Two other exceptions are Ramsey County where Franken has one more challenge but has gained 34 votes and St. Louis County where Coleman has issued a 100 more challenges but has gained only 57 votes. And Coleman has issued 80 more challenges overall compared to Franken but with 82% of the recount completed that difference alone won't net Franken enough votes.

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