Coleman wins, Franken loses; recount begins tomorrow

Norm Coleman will be certified the winner of the contest for Minnesota’s Senate seat by the state Canvassing Board today. Yesterday the Franken campaign asked the board not to certify the result until certain rejected absentee ballots are included in the final count. The board rejected the Franken campaign’s motion to include the rejected absentee ballots or to delay certification.

What was the thinking of the Franken campaign in bringing its motion to prevent certification of the result? The Franken campaign apparently wants to reduce the risk that any Minnesota newspaper will run a headline reporting that Senator Coleman won the election.

Coleman’s margin of victory over Franken in the certification is expected to increase today by nine votes, from 206 to 215 votes. The Star Tribune reports that the nine additional votes derive from “a post-election audit conducted in a sampling of about 200 precincts to check the accuracy of voting machines.”

There has as yet been no full accounting for the previous adjustments that resulted in the shrinking of Senator Coleman’s margin from 725 votes on the morning of November 5 to the 206 votes that preceded any final adjustment. Some day perhaps the Minnesota media will get around to taking a look in the interest of a fullly informed citizenry. Until that time, we will probably have to rely on the work of outside observers such as John Lott and Ed Lasky.

Given Senator Coleman’s narrow margin of victory, the result certified today will be subject to a mandatory recount. The recount begins tomorrow and will last for three weeks. The Secretary of State’s office has established a page with recount information here.

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