Franken closes gap to 204 votes

UPDATED 6 p.m., 11/15/08 • Senator Norm Coleman's lead over Al Franken shrunk again from 206 to 204 votes after counties from all over Minnesota turned in their audits Friday. The hand count audits were only of 3 to 5 precincts in any given county and are done after every election in Minnesota to check the accuracy of the voting machines.

Correction from The Uptake: We've discovered an error in the math and had to revise the totals. It's now a 204 vote difference. The story originally reported that the difference had shrunk to 200. Do the math yourself -- full results from the audit can be found here. (625-page PDF)

Besides the vote totals, the audit had some indications that getting more than a hundred county and local government units to follow the same standards and procedures in the anticipated recount may be difficult.

Recount, audit, canvass -- what's it all about?

Statewide election results -- posted on the Secretary of State's web site
Canvass is the county-by-county vote report turned in to the Secretary of State's office, and reflected in the figures on the Secretary of State's web site.
Audit is the legally-required hand recount of selected precincts to make sure that machine totals are not significantly different from actual totals. This is done after every election. That just-completed audit resulted in the change of ony six votes in the Senate race.

State Canvassing Board, made up of two Supreme Court judges, two District Court judges and the Secretary of State, will meet on September 18 to certify the count and official election results.
Recount will begin AFTER the State Canvassing Board meets on November 18 and officially orders a recount. The recount takes place in more than a hundred locations across the state, conducted by local election officials and then reported back to the State Canvassing Board.
Recount is required by state law whenever the vote margin between the two top candidates is less than one-half of one percent.MORE

In Cottonwood County, a ballot was lightly marked for Norm Coleman but the electronic vote scanner did not record a vote for Coleman. This was discovered when Cottonwood election officials counted the ballots by hand for the audit. However, election official Jan Johnson sent in the audit indicating there had been no change in the vote for Coleman. Johnson told The UpTake that "voter intent" was not to be determined during the audit, but the ballot would definitely be in the Coleman column when t here was a recount.

The Secretary of State's office disagreed, telling The UpTake that voter intent was to be a factor in the audit as well as the recount. The Secretary of State's office apparently won that argument. When the final audit numbers were filed on Friday the ballot in Cottonwood County was in the Colman column.

In Minneapolis' Ward 7, Precinct 9, election officials took two votes away from Franken and one from Coleman noting that the ballots were "questionable" but noting that the machine counted them.

In Redwood Falls Ward 3 vote totals for Norm Coleman remained the same despite a notation that one of the machines had a "questionable" reading.

In Stevens County one ballot was "found under ballot counter above ballot box".

The full results from the audit can be found here. (625-page PDF)

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In the info box explaining recount etc, the date shows as Sept. 18, shouldn't that read Nov. 19th? Great info and breakdown of what happens.


Thanks for catching this ! It should be November 18. I have made the correction.