Recount update: Norm’s margin falls to 303

Buoyed by a 37-vote advantage unearthed in a Maplewood precinct, Al Franken cut Norm Coleman’s 344-vote recount margin to 303 Tuesday.

On a light recounting day, Franken challenged eight more ballots than Coleman, 34 to 26. One check on challenge manipulation is whether a candidate’s recount lead grew by more than his challenged-ballot advantage. Franken’s did, so you can say he had a genuinely good session.

According to the Secretary of State’s 8 p.m. update, Franken now leads in total votes counted, 41.47 percent to 41.38 percent. However, that figure is almost meaningless. It indicates that more pro-Franken areas have been counted than pro-Coleman ones. For most of the recount, the reverse was true.

Coleman still leads in overall challenged ballots, 3,093 to 2,910. Perhaps as a consequence, his 303-vote margin still tops his plus-215 at the beginning of the recount.

If you wiped out all challenges, Coleman would have a 120-vote lead.

Total votes recounted counted rose slightly, from 91.1 percent to 92.7 percent.

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