Franken: I’ll have fewer than 500 challenges

This lowers the bar nicely for the Coleman campaign …

Taking the state Canvass Board’s Friday lecture to heart, Franken’s campaign says they will submit no more than 500 challenges Tuesday. From their Sunday afternoon press release:

Two days after members of the state canvassing board issued an urgent plea for campaigns to withdraw additional challenges in order to allow them to finish their work in a timely fashion, the Franken campaign today announced that it would have fewer than 500 challenges remaining for the board to consider on a ballot-by-ballot basis when it meets on Tuesday.

Communications Director Andy Barr:

“In making this pledge, we are taking to heart the good advice of the canvassing board and the best interests of Minnesotans who want to see this process move forward efficiently. We have the greatest respect for this process and for the men and women involved in carrying it out, and so we will work overtime between now and Tuesday to do our part. When the board meets on Tuesday, it will have fewer than 500 challenges from our campaign to individually review.”

The Franken campaign has already withdrawn over 1,800 challenges and today’s announcement was made in light of the canvassing board’s goal of completing all of challenge reviews by December 19th.

With Franken trailing by 192, lowering the challenge pool this dramatically is no idle gesture. Assuming Coleman matches the 500 number, Franken would have to win roughly 60 percent of 1,000 challenges remaining to overcome his deficit.

Of course, if most of those challenges were crap anyway, this isn’t much of a risk to earn the Canvass Board’s appreciation. And with things going Al’s way lately on the absentee ballots, the challenge pool isn’t quite as critical as it was.

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by John Olson on 12/14/2008 - 03:39 pm.

    Makes one wonder why these selected ballots were challenged in the first place.

  2. Submitted by Ross Williams on 12/14/2008 - 04:58 pm.

    Ballots were challenged by campaign volunteers. I am sure both campaigns told their supporters to error on the side of challenging. If they both narrow their lists to truly questionable ballots, then the process has worked as designed.

  3. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/14/2008 - 05:28 pm.

    Free competition??

  4. Submitted by Peter Vangsnes on 12/15/2008 - 09:58 am.

    You are a little off on your math. Since Coleman has a lead of 192 based on 95 more challenges, if they both reduce their challenges to 500, the putative lead will be 97. And that number assumes that all of the now unchallenged ballots go to the opponent, which is not a good assumption. Keep in mind, these vote could go to the opponent, or they could go to Barkley or to nobody.

    If Franken challenged more votes that were deemed by the initial count to be “overvotes” or “undervotes,” and Coleman had a tendency to challenge more that were initially ruled for Franken, then Coleman may not be leading before the Canvassing Board convenes. In fact, this is what the Franken camp claims, and it seems to be supported by an independent analysis by the AP. It will be interesting to see if the Secretary of state releases new numbers before the Board starts its work, and if it publicizes beforehand what the initial ruling was on all the disputed ballots.

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