Minnesota Senate Race Hangs on Pair of Rulings

Court, Canvassing Board could shrink Coleman lead
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 16, 2008 8:10 AM CST
The State Election Director, center, along with representatives for Republican INorm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken, discuss disputed ballots to wrap up the first phase of the Senate recount Dec. 5.   (AP Photo/Dawn Villella)
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(Newser) – Minnesota’s hotly contested Senate race now hinges on two fast-approaching decisions: a state Supreme Court ruling on standards for counting mistakenly rejected ballots (arguments to be heard tomorrow), and the Canvassing Board’s decision on the number of challenged ballots to be officially counted (review begins today). Republican incumbent Norm Coleman’s 192-vote lead over Al Franken is likely to shrink as the matters are finalized, Politico reports.

Some 1,500 rejected ballots are at stake in the court decision, which could come this week. The hearing will ensure “uniform treatment of rejected ballots,” says a Coleman rep. Meanwhile, Coleman is challenging about 1,000 ballots and Franken 700. Franken estimates that he'll come out 4 votes ahead after the Board ruling, but Coleman says he’ll maintain his lead.