The recount in the Senate race between Norm Coleman and Al Franken has ended and Norm Coleman still holds on to a razor thin lead, but it’s not over yet:
Like the election itself, the Senate recount has ended — except that it hasn’t.
At 11:29 a.m. Friday at the Wright County Government Center in Buffalo, state Elections Director Gary Poser pasted a sticker on one last challenged ballot and whispered, almost to himself: “We’re done.”
But not quite. Officials continued to search for 133 Minneapolis ballots that apparently are missing. And until those ballots are found or judged impossible to locate, the recount won’t be over, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said Friday.
By mid-afternoon, Minneapolis officials had turned their elections warehouse inside out but failed to find the envelope containing the ballots.
Pending the fate of the missing ballots, the Star Tribune calculates that Republican Sen. Norm Coleman leads Democrat Al Franken by 192 votes — a margin 23 votes narrower than the 215-vote lead that Coleman was awarded by the state Canvassing Board just before the recount began Nov. 19.
The Secretary of State’s Office, leaving out the disputed precinct altogether, shows Coleman ahead of Franken by 687 votes.
The Franken campaign reached yet another conclusion — Franken ahead by four votes — by including a projection on 6,655 ballots challenged by both campaigns.
At this point, Franken is beginning to look foolish. Even if all of the missing ballots were to be unequivocal votes for Franken, which is unlikely, he would not be able to overcome Coleman’s margin. At this point, Franken has two choices — he can bow out with class or he can drag this race through the Courts or, worse yet, use Democratic strong-arm tactics in the Senate to force his way into the seat.
It’s up to you Al.