The work week ended, but some recounting sites raged on to speed up the process of the Senate recount in the Norm Coleman and Al Franken race. And it gave the local media something to talk about this weekend.
In the latest Star Tribune numbers, Coleman leads with 180 votes. There have been 1,982 challenged votes so far and still much more to come. We hope some of these challenges (like the one with a random line on the back of it) will be dropped before the canvassing board has to analyze the stack.
Stay updated on the latest changes with the Star Tribune's calculations in this nifty table. If you are curious what all of these challenges actually look like, the Pioneer Press created a pdf of some of the latest challenges ballots. Be prepared to be confused.
FiveThirtyEight has been following this recount very closely and added a lot of new analysis this weekend. They finally came out with a solid prediction: Franken will win by 27 votes. We haven't seen any other site provide a strong prediction such as this. If it actually is correct, this site has something going for them after their stellar predictions across the country.
Why do they think Franken will take the prize?
Consider the following. In precincts where challenges have been issued (these are the only precincts in which, in some sense, the results of the recount can be considered to be final and "official") Franken has gained a total of 34 votes, and Coleman a total of 6 votes, for a net gain by Franken of 28 votes.
Moreover, in precincts where just 1 challenge has been issued, Franken has gained a net of 31 votes on Coleman, and in precincts where exactly 2 challenges have been issued, Franken has gained a net of 32 votes on Coleman.
By contrast, in precincts where 5 or more ballots have been challenged between the two campaigns, Coleman has gained a net of 57 votes on Franken.
In other words, the fewer the number of challenged ballots, the better Franken is doing, and the higher the number of challenged ballots, the worse he is doing; the relationship is in fact quite strong.
Remember the day after the election when Coleman told Franken to be a real man and concede? Add that to Coleman's list of regrets. In a press conference Friday, Coleman said he was tired and uninformed, according to the Associated Press.
The morning after Election Day, Coleman had a 715-vote lead.
During a visit Friday to an Xcel Energy facility in Monticello, Coleman told reporters that his lead at the time was substantially larger than now and that he hadn't slept in 36 hours.
Coleman's lead eventually dwindled to 215 votes before the recount was launched. "I don't think I'd have made the same statement," Coleman says.
And the whole country keeps laughing at us. Now that we have the classic "Lizard People" voter, people can't get enough of the challenged ballots. Gawker is particularly fond of our voter's problems.
To lighten the mood, check out this video which pokes fun at "My Two Senators".