Franken Trails Coleman by Just 2 Votes in Minn.

By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 18, 2008 7:50 PM CST
In this Nov. 19, 2008, file photo, Minnesota Democratic Senate candidate Al Franken walks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2008.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
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(Newser) – Sen. Norm Coleman saw his lead over Al Franken in Minnesota's Senate race dwindle to just two votes today. Meanwhile, a key court ruling put more than 1,500 improperly rejected ballots in play and promised the recount would drag into the new year. The state's Supreme Court ruled that improperly rejected absentee ballots be included in the recount. It ordered the candidates to work with election officials to set up a process to identify ballots that were rejected in error.

The ruling came as the state Canvassing Board—wrapping up its third day of reviewing ballots—nearly erased what had been a 360-vote lead for Coleman. Still, there are hundreds of challenges yet to decide, thousands of withdrawn challenges that have yet to be tallied, and now the improperly rejected absentee ballots, estimated to number around 1,600. Franken supported and Coleman opposed counting those absentees.