Senate recount afternoon update

Things are getting interesting (sort of) in the Senate ballot recount. Norm Coleman and Al Franken definitely have their people fighting for every vote. Here are some of the highlights of the day from some of the reporters out watching paint dry at the recount sites.

First off, is Franken ruining democracy?

The Pioneer Press caught a pretty great interaction today at the state canvassing board. Is this a recount or American Idol?

[Ballot held up for examination]

Randy: "I don't know, dog. A little scribbly for me. I kind of see what you were trying to do, but you just missed the lines sometimes with your marks. A little scribbly. But it was alright...."

Paula: "I loved it. I think you knew what you wanted to do going into the voting booth, and you did it. I think you're going to be a voting superstar one day."

Make sure to read the conclusion of this conversation here.

Things got a little heated in Swift County over contested ballots with a Norm Coleman representative, according to Forum Communications' Don Davis:

Stacey Barrack repeatedly asked Auditor Byron Giese to stop the procedure as the first Swift County precinct was being recounted.

Barrack objected to Giese's denial of a challenge made by the Coleman observer. She told Giese that he had no right to voice his opinion on whether a challenge was frivolous or not. She said the observer had the right to challenge ballots.

"Challenge me in court," said Giese to Barrack. "I call it a frivolous challenge."

Barrack also asked that observers be allowed to see the backside of the ballots, and she asked Giese to start the recount process over.

The Pi Press also reported that Coleman's buddy Jeff Larson is advising during the recount. Not quite sure what that means, but interesting note.

Republican consultant Jeff Larson, the man who was the Republican National Convention Host Committee Chief Executive Officer and rents Republican Sen. Norm Coleman a bedroom in his Washington town home, is helping Coleman out with the recount.

"Jeff is playing the role he's always played, which is adviser," said Coleman campaign manager Cullen Sheehan. " He's been an adviser of the campaign and a friend and adviser of the Senator's and he's continued to help throughout this process."

Duluth uses the "connect the arrow" ballot, which can be hard for older machines to read, the Star Tribune says.

In Duluth today, that advantage further shank. Faintly marked "arrow" ballots and the outdated machines that have trouble reading them continued to favor Franken during vote total adjustments in St. Louis County.

Franken gained 19 votes to Coleman's 13 this morning as county employees hand-counted ballots from three additional precincts that still use older "Eagle" scanning machines. The machines require voters to draw a line connecting the back and front of arrows pointing to their choice.

If the line completing the arrow is faint, the machines don't always read the vote, though the voter's intent is clear to hand-counters, election officials said.

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