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Franken Maintains 48-Vote Lead

The Star Tribune reports that Al Franken holds a 48-vote lead over Norm Coleman, with thousands of withdrawn challenges having been added back in to the respective candidates’ totals. This number would be roughly in accordance with the 35-50 vote lead projected by the Franken campaign.

The Star Tribune’s reckoning appears to come from a spreadsheet (.xls) available on the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website. The spreadsheet appears to show 3,191 challenged ballots resolved for Franken and 2,955 for Coleman — a net gain of 236 for Franken, which would put him 48 votes ahead given Norm Coleman’s 188 vote lead prior to the challenge phase of the recount process. An additional group of 542 challenges ballots were deemed to be illegal votes (undervotes, overvotes, etc.), or were assigned to third-party candidates.

Challenged By         Ballot Allocated To______
__ Franken Coleman Other
Franken 66 2923 295
__ 2.0% 89.0% 9.0%
Coleman 3120 29 243
__ 92.0% 0.9% 7.2%
Both 5 3 4
__ 41.7% 25.0% 33.3%
Total 3191 2955 542
__ 47.7% 44.2% 8.1%

These are draft numbers, and as such are subject to change. Minnesota’s Canvassing Board will meet again tomorrow morning to resolve a few odds and ends, apparently including the resolution of a small number of remaining challenged ballots.

In all likelihood, however, Coleman will need to rely on the addition of rejected absentee ballots or the subtraction of so-called duplicate ballots in order to regain the lead from Franken. The former class of ballots will be resolved by the counties between now and December 31; the latter group may or may not be reviewed, depending on a ruling from the Minnesota Supreme Court anticipated tomorrow.

Nate Silver founded and was the editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.