Minnesota Senate recount, update XII

NRO editor Kathryn Lopez wrote to ask me this morning how nervous she should be about the outcome of the recount. This is how I responded (Kathryn posts my response here).

The Board of Canvassers meets today to begin ruling on the remaining challenged ballots that have yet to be tabulated in the recount. Both the Associated Press and the Star Tribune (via readers’ evaluations) say that the resolution of the challenged ballots may net Franken enough votes to win, but so narrowly that it’s hard to make anything of it.

As Congressional Quarterly reports, the Coleman campaign will not provide an estimate of its own regarding the challenged ballots. I have perviously tried to get something from the Coleman campaign on that and come up empty. All they will say is that’s not how they see it.

Last week the board recommended that counties sort and count absentee ballots that were mistakenly rejected, subject to no uniform standard. John Hinderaker discusses these so-called “fifth pile” absentee ballots here.

Yesterday the Minnesota Supreme Court accepted the Coleman campaign’s petition for a hearing regarding the issues raised by the Board of Canvassers’ “recommendation” that Minnesota’s 87 counties sort and count the “fifth pile” absentee ballots. Looking at a series of developments including the board’s “recommendation,” I concluded over the weekend that the recount was going south.

The Minnesota Supreme Court hearing is set for Wednesday afternoon. The Supreme Court could have punted and may yet do so, but the hearing holds out the possibility that the Pandora’s box opened by the Board of Canvassers might be shut. Even if the court introduces order to the pending chaos, we have no idea what the result would be.

The Canvassing Board has proved itself to be problematic. It has already gone haywire on basic issues that go to the statutory recount process, and the rejected absentee ballots that may or may not be included are a wild card.

I am worried. I think you would be right to be worried.

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