Secretary of State makes challenged ballots publicby Curtis Gilbert, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — With more than 90 percent of the votes in Minnesota's U.S. Senate race recounted, the campaigns of Republican Norm Coleman and DFLer Al Franken have challenged nearly 6,000 ballots.
But a Minnesota Public Radio News analysis shows many of those challenges are frivolous.
The Minnesota Secretary of State's office has released copies of 1,000 of the contested ballots so far, and in the vast majority of cases it's easy to tell whether the voter intended to vote for Coleman or Franken.
Minnesota state law lays out rules for determining a voter's intent, and it says if the ballot is valid and the intent is clear, then the vote counts. Minnesota Public Radio reporters used those guidelines, and examined all 1,000 ballots.
About 350 were clearly votes for Coleman. 330 were clear Franken votes. Another 100 or so wouldn't go to either candidate under state law. That left only 206 ballots where the law didn't provide clear guidance about what to do with the vote.
The Coleman and Franken campaigns have tacitly acknowledged that there are a number of frivolous challenges. Both campaigns say they intend to withdraw some of their challenges over the next two weeks. All the remaining challenged ballots then have to go before the State Canvassing Board on Dec. 16, which will have to review and rule on them one by one.
It took Minnesota Public Radio News about five hours to examine 1,000 ballots.
Follow the link to judge the ballots.