Coleman/Franken recount update: Challenges galore


The challenges from the camps of Norm Coleman and Al Franken are getting more intense, at least in Ramsey County.

The Star Tribune is reporting an increased number of challenges in what was a pretty calm recount site:

There were only 10 challenges Wednesday and Thursday, thanks largely to post-recount mediation sessions both afternoons during which county Elections Manager Joe Mansky and attorneys and volunteers from both campaigns sat down and whittled the challenges down when the voters' intent was clear.

FiveThirtyEight calculated the challenges per ballot checked during the first two days and shows a rise as well.

On the first day of Minnesota's recount process, the Coleman campaign challenged roughly 2.3 ballots for every 10,000 cast, and the Franken campaign challenged 2.5, for a total of 4.8 challenges per 10,000 ballots according to figures compiled by Minnesota Secretary of State.

Yesterday, the second day of the process, that challenge rate rose to 3.1 per 10,000 ballots for Coleman, and 3.4 per 10,000 ballots for Franken, for a challenge rate of 6.5 ballots per 10,000.

The art of challenging ballots is finally coming through as both campaigns realize the advantage of challenging more ballots than necessary in hopes of tipping the election their way.

More from the Strib:

Mansky said he thinks both campaigns have instructed observers to issue challenges more widely.

"It can be a strategy and when you are trying to overcome a lead, you challenge more," Trimble said, referring to the Franken camp.

Like an arms race, he said, when one side ups their challenge, so does the rival campaign.

So of course both sides are spinning it and bringing copies of challenged ballots to their own press conference to show how ridiculous the other campaign is when it comes to challenging ballots. Franken's team is calling some Coleman's team challenges "silly" while Coleman's reps say Franken is bringing up "frivolous" challenges that are "undermining" the recount process.

Huffington Post has a pretty good recap of all of these shenanigans. Warning: The story is written by a former researcher and segment producer for The Al Franken Show.