Franken-Coleman recount: Franken to unilaterally withdraw some challenges

Marc Elias, Al Franken’s chief recount attorney, said this afternoon that the U.S. Senate candidate’s campaign will unilaterally reduce its challenges of recounted ballots later this week.

Elias said in a conference call with reporters that the campaign will withdraw “more than dozens” of Franken challenges of ballots for Coleman.

Before the recount resumed Monday morning, 4,740 challenges had been made of ballots, 2,292 challenged by Franken forces and 2,448 questioned by Coleman cadres.

 “If the Coleman campaign wants to join us in that, that’s great,” said Elias. “Our goal here is to reduce the number of challenges where we can because frankly it doesn’t do us any good to have a bunch of challenges that ultimately aren’t upheld.”

Last week, Coleman recount lawyer Fritz Knaak suggested both camps sit down and discuss challenges. Today, Coleman campaign communications director Mark Drake told MinnPost in an email: “As we’ve indicated, publicly and to the Franken Campaign, we’re prepared to sit down with the Franken Campaign to discuss how to reduce the number of frivolous ballot challenges.”

Doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing a meeting any time soon.

In other matters, Elias said the Franken campaign is still pursuing full data of rejected absentee ballots from all 87 of the state’s counties, with nine counties still being somewhat recalcitrant. The counting of improperly rejected absentee ballots remains a key Franken issue.

Also, Elias said, according to the Franken campaign’s examination, as many as 700 ballots from the original count seem to be missing. Some missing ballots could simply be a case of election machines jamming on Nov. 4 and, so, an incorrect vote count on Election Day. That is, a voter puts her ballot in the machine to be counted; the machine spits it back once; and, then, on a second try, grabs it for a count.

But in some precincts double digits of votes are missing.

“That’s a lot of jamming,” Elias said.

The Coleman campaign last week wondered about such discrepancies, too.

The recount is to be completed by Friday.

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