Comedian Al Franken gained ground yesterday over incumbent Senator Norm Coleman as Minnesota began recounting the state's 2.9 million ballots to determine the victor of the state's hard-fought Senate race. Coleman's unofficial lead of 215 votes over his Democratic challenger shrank to 174 as the closely watched recount progressed, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Much of Franken's gain came from an extra 23 votes in a country where optical scanners had failed to read faintly marked ballots. Campaign representatives, reporters and lawyers watched alertly as campaign workers pored over ballot stacks. In Minneapolis, the city clerk announced two ballots were missing, prompting cries of "lock the doors!" and "strip search!" from observers.