The State Canvassing Board made two important rulings Friday morning, both potentially big wins for the Al Franken campaign.
The board has decided to count the missing 133 ballots from a Minneapolis precinct over the objections of the Norm Coleman campaign that lost ballots couldn’t be recounted. According to the machine count done on Election Night, Franken won among those ballots by 46 votes. Friday’s Canvassing Board’s unanimous decision to go by the Election Night count means Franken keeps that 46-vote advantage.
Secondly, and potentially more significant, the board unanimously encouraged every county to sort its pile of rejected absentee ballots, look for those that were disqualified improperly, open and count those ballots and report the revised results to the state board.
Some counties have already done the sorting, others have indicated they wanted a clearer signal from the Canvassing Board. The board was advised that it had no authority to order the counties to do this, so it settled for language encouraging them to do so. Although some counties have been reluctant, Secretary of State mark Ritchie said most counties are anxious to correct errors made in the handling of absentee ballots.
Based on a projection from those counties that have reexamined their absentee ballots, Deputy Secretary of State Jim Gelbmann projected that there may be 1,587 wrongfully rejected absentee ballots statewide.
Although there’s no way to predict how those votes will break down since Franken has been trailing among the ballots counted so far, it’s in his interest to create a pool of over 1,500 new votes to be counted. Franken recount lawyer Marc Elias called it “a great day.” The Coleman campaign said it would comment on the morning’s developments later today.
And I will put up an analysis on the board’s decisions this afternoon.