Minnesota Senate Recount, Update VI

It seems that the pace of the Minnesota Senate recount is slowing, with 82 percent of the ballots reportedly now recounted. It seems pretty clear that the votes the Franken campaign had hoped to uncover aren’t there, so far. By the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s count, Norm Coleman’s lead has lengthened slightly to 231 votes.

The Franken campaign now claims that it has learned of several hundred “missing ballots” around the state–all cast for Franken, no doubt, should they ever be “discovered.” The Coleman campaign senses Franken’s desperation. It released a statement today that said, in part:

While our team remains steadfastly committed to ensuring this is a fair, full and transparent process, we are seeing a calculated strategy steadily emerging from the Franken campaign. Multiple times now they have pointed blame at local officials for what the Franken Campaign calls the “failed” effort to do their job.

In the next 24 hours or so, and throughout the remainder of the recount, expect to hear additional complaints and finger-pointing from Team Franken as they attempt to raise doubts and suspicions about the recount. Most analysts are expecting to see the Franken campaign attempt to take this issue as far through the court system as they can when the recount doesn’t end the way they want.

As Larry Jacobs, the well-respected Director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for the Study of Politics and Governance said this morning in a Minnesota paper, “Things are clearly moving in the wrong direction for Franken.”

We understand that their pattern of activity is in run-up to the statewide canvassing board meeting that will occur tomorrow, during which the board will take up the issue of rejected absentee ballots. We fully expect the board to follow the long history of precedent in referring these rejected absentee ballots to the courts where they are properly handled, and we don’t expect any new ground to be broken in this respect.

So far, we are comfortable with the way things are going and that is a product of the hard work and tireless efforts of the many local election officials and countless volunteers working on behalf of both campaigns. We hope that this recount- which is just that, a recount of all the legally cast votes- will become a textbook example for the whole nation to see how this process should be done…the Minnesota way.

Franken’s last resort will be a lawsuit to try to force reconsideration of absentee ballots that were rejected by local officials. It’s impossible to say whether this is a pure “Hail Mary” effort, or whether the Democrats have some reason to think the rejected ballots can actually put them over the top. In the first place, there is little public information about how many rejected absentee ballots there are or how they are distributed among the counties. (Franken’s campaign claims to have gotten information from 66 counties and to be aware of around 6,400 rejected absentee ballots.) Nor is there any information available about the grounds on which absentee ballots have been disqualified.

Without this basic information, one can only speculate about whether, even if Franken wins the right to seek reconsideration of the rejected ballots, he has a realistic chance of overcoming Coleman’s lead. Coleman’s lead, of course has already been reduced by the fraudulent ballots that Democrats cast on November 4. I, for one, am becoming increasingly optimistic that if the Democrats couldn’t steal the election on November 4, any shenanigans Franken may pull from here on won’t make the difference, either.

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