Monday, December 15, 2008

AP analyses challenged ballots finds Franken advantage

An AP review of more than 5,000 challenged ballots reveals that Al Franken stands to gain ground, enough to possibly put him over the top. Some of the findings;

"Among challenged ballots that easily could be assigned, Franken netted 200 more votes than Coleman."

"More than 400 possible Franken votes were being held up on grounds that those voters identified their ballots through write-ins, initials, phone numbers or some other distinctive marking. At least 300 possible Coleman votes were in limbo for the same reasons. "

 "Franken could also get a boost because a few more of his potential supporters than Coleman's were among the nearly 600 ballots that had two filled-in ovals as well as crossed-out votes, an X above or below their darkened oval, or different-size partial marks in more than one oval."

The first pile alone is enough for Franken to pull ahead. The signature/identifying mark pile also favors Franken, but some of these ballots have the potential of not being counted. For clarification the AP article includes this:

"Ritchie said a ruling in the state's 1962 gubernatorial race recount found that the mark had to have been made with the voter's intent to identify the ballot."

This would seem to cut down on the amount of ballots rejected for having a signature or other identifying mark. As an example, I've seen ballots where a change was made in the vote and the change was initialed by the voter, as they would do on a check. According to Ritchie, these ballots would be counted.

A Daily Kos diarist also spent the weekend going through challenged ballots and has posted his findings which seem to support the AP's analysis.

The challenged ballot counting begins on Tuesday and is expected to go till Friday at which point we should have a much better idea about the pre-trial phase outcome of this race.

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