Al Franken has filed a protest in a Minneapolis precinct that discovered it had counted some ballots twice on Election Night.  The correction in the count cost Franken 46 votes, more than offsetting the ballots discovered in Maplewood the previous day.  With 98% of the recount completed, Coleman still leads, and by a slightly larger amount:

Elections officials in Minnesota’s largest city today discovered that one precinct came up 133 ballots short of election day totals, resulting in a net loss for Democratic challenger Al Franken of 44 votes. …

Minneapolis elections director Cindy Reichert said she believes the error occurred when election judges at the precinct on election night mistakenly ran ballots with write-in candidates through a counting machine twice. There were 129 such ballots.

Reichert said although the numbers do not match exactly, she is confident that that’s what happened and will report those numbers to the Secretary of State’s Office. She also detailed a search for any potential missing envelopes that contain ballots, including opening the counting machine, talking to election judges and calling the church where the polling place was located.

According to the Strib, Reichert later decided to hold off on reporting the results:

Late Wednesday, Reichert said she had decided to keep the results in the precinct open until all of the discrepancies could be resolved, by reviewing all of the precinct’s election materials at City Hall today.

“Several mistakes were made in the precinct and we need to verify all of the numbers we looked at [Wednesday],” she said.

The protest probably won’ty fly.  The precinct recounted the ballots and discovered a discrepancy in the count, not ballots that never appeared to exist until weeks after the election. Recounts exist to correct those kinds of errors.

The Franken campaign formally announced their intention to withdraw over 600 ballot challenges yesterday, making good on their “more than dozens” pledge earlier in the week.  Marc Elias, Team Franken’s attorney, says that the withdrawals won’t affect the outcome of the election.  If that’s true, why did they issue those challenges in the first place?  How many other useless challenges from Team Franken remain in the 2000+ challenges still extant?

Tags: Minnesota