The votes have been verified and the difference between Sen. Norm Coleman and Al Franken is still a mere 206 votes. Now we have to wait for a full hand recount that will continue to torture the state.
The number continued to fluctuate until Monday because elections officials in all of Minnesota's 87 counties had to finalize their results last night. Those results now need to be approved by the state. The recount starts Nov. 19.
And of course, the drama between the candidates continued.
According to the Pioneer Press:
The Coleman campaign on Monday accused Franken of trying to "stuff the ballot box" after a Franken campaign lawyer said he's identified 461 absentee ballots that should have been counted but were rejected for reasons such as mismatched signatures.
"People feel an almost historical obligation to have their votes cast and counted" in this election, said former U.S. Attorney David Lillehaug, who is spearheading the Franken campaign's recount efforts.
"I'm not sure any of us sign our signature exactly the same way every day," he added.
Lillehaug made his request during a highly anticipated meeting of the Hennepin County Canvassing Board, one of the last in the state to finalize its election results. The request was rejected by the board, made up of county officials, court representatives and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak.
And as if Hennepin County needed more problems to deal with, Power Line posted this note from an election judge that brings up an interesting potential security breach:
Once all this is done, we must close out the totals. This entails a number of steps, one of which is transmitting the results. There is a modem in each of the voting machines which can dial up the county and send the results before the official tape is printed within the machine. This offers a level of security as the results are now off site, and the Official Tape with the totals is still at the precinct.
What happened on election night was Hennepin County set up the wrong IP address for all the machines in the county. There was no way to transmit the results to a secure off site location. Instead all the precinct's needed to pull the electronic cards out of the machine, along with the tape, and head to City Hall to consolidate and then have them sent to the County. This means that one person had all the voting results and ballots in their possession for that precinct. So it certainly dropped the level of security a level.
The Republicans declared victory... again. According to MN Democrats Exposed:
Republican Party of Minnesota Chair Ron Carey today released the following statement at the conclusion of the county canvassing process showing Sen. Coleman winning re-election.
"I am pleased to see the canvassing results have confirmed Sen. Coleman was re-elected on November 4th. He remains the winner despite several discrepancies with the original vote tally from election night."
FiveThirtyEight wrote another update on the race analysis. This time they started leaning more for Franken's chances after some updated number crunching: "I hesitate to say this, but I think the evidence points on balance toward Franken being a slight favorite to win the recount."
Look at their site for more looks at the undervote and how this could all change the election result during the full recount.