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Many, many thanks around the Orange site to so many who have put up diaries and comments this past day.
Live Streams for the Canvassing Board's last day of challenges. UPDATE: Sorry. Begins 9:00am CT. Ritchie says they will go late in the evening if needed to finish TODAY!
Star Tribune:

So very very much happening yesterday and into Thursday night that this is not as complete as it could be. Please check your DailyKos diary list OFTEN today as people spend their diary quotas and GREAT comments putting up excellent updates thoughout the day.

As you go to (recount) infinity and beyond below the fold, savor this: probably about 20 minutes into this morning's recount you will see, with a fair level of security (not a done deal, but there aren't many cards left in the deck), the phrase I've been wanting to post in a title for weeks (wait 'til tomorrow :-D): FRANKEN LEADS!

Recounted Ballots
   One more day with no change on the Sec. of State's website for the recount (same since 12/12). Initially I was disappointed these numbers stopped changing when the hand recount ended. But since then we've had the challenged ballots, the absentee ballots in piles and just the other day, duplicate ballots. Then there are withdrawn challenged ballots and growls about re-instated challenged ballots. And that would be a nightmare of footnotes, italics, asterisks, # signs (and maybe even umlauts, Greek "rough breathing" marks and those Scandinavian "O"s with the slash through them that must have a multi-syllabic name in Sanskrit.)
     INSTEAD, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie has opted to leave the numbers ALONE until he has something settled to add or subtract. And I've come around to see the wisdom of that, so I've curbed by frustration (tied them up to the "Snowplow Parking Only" sign post) and am waiting with the rest of us all. ("Maybe tonight" they yap.)
    (And still.....blogger CraigH at Uptake offers:
"Anybody else suspecting that the SoS office is being coy about final numbers to prevent any last minute "tit-for-tat" ballot challenge additions to tip the scale one way or another? That would be entertaining..."

Challenged Ballots
    The Canvassing Board got down to it Thursday morning, going at Coleman's 1016 challenged ballots (16 more than 1000; must be the Republican definition of "South of 1000" that Knaak offered over the weekend.)
    BUT then just to make sure everyone was awake, the Colemaniks withdrew 400 challenges.....and then added 204 more (which they obviously think might have a better chance of being upheld). This means the Board is now facing about 800 (truly south of 1000).    
At the 8:47 morning time mark on TheUpTake McIntee has a link to a spreadsheet of ALL the Coleman challenges, so if you want to follow along play by play here's your chance.
    NOW, watch carefully.....those 204 Coleman threw in include "incident reports" about what happened to a given ballot sometime during election day that may bear on it being challenged. The Franken camp said, "OK, 2 can play that game" and are ready to drop 200 or so (I kinda like...205) of their own (currently withdrawn) challenged ballots with similar "incident reports".
    Ritchie speaks for the Board and says those 204 from each side may well be set aside (the NEW "BLUE FOLDER" and dealt with at a separate Board meeting on December 30-- a new date for your calendars.
    At the end of the day (Thursday), 642 challenges disposed of, its Norm leading: (not the 188 he had last Friday and still up on the SoS website) but now taking into account the challenged ballots that have been decided by the Board since Tuesday. Norm: +5...or +2 by some news accounts.
    And for Friday? About 380 challenges left to go.

Absentee Ballots
    Right below in Legal for the news

Legal Moves V
    Thursday's Legal Moves were not BY the Lawyers, they were aimed AT the lawyers. The Minnesota Supreme Court came back with an answer to the Coleman suit that was heard yesterday.
    Commendable speed? Check. Decisive? Rather. Lopsided? Are you kidding?? This is the MN Recount! EVERYTHING is close!
     Decision: 3-2! Meyer, Dietzen & Gildea// Page & Anderson.
     Coleman Request, Temporary Restraining Order ("Stop the Count, I'm a Republican who's leading"): DENIED. (1-0 for the good guys)
     Stop sorting Rejected Absentee Ballots into 5 piles: DENIED (2-0, good gals)
     Let County Election Boards decide "5th pile" ballots, open & count them (so Page & Anderson; Page called anything less than following the LAW--since counties have done this before-- Stalinist! He used the "whoever counts the ballots" line in his dissent.) YES, BUT (2-0-1):
            County election officials and both campaigns to create a process for accepting "5th pile ballots" that both sides agree on. Obstreperous lawyers from either side who come up with crap reasons subject to State Rule 11 sanctions (apparently a list of increasing penalties against lawyers who act like the south end of a north bound horse. 1st cut by some lawyers on some of the blogging boards seems to be, "Gulp!", so Rule 11 sounds like a fairly serious piece of artillery.)
     Sounds like the drama is going to be played out at about 120 locations across the state (ruling favors anti-Twin Cities activists!) and fairly quickly---decision calls on local boards and candidates to report agreed upon RAB's that are re-instated by Dec. 31 (2 weeks more of these diaries: "Fist fight in Yellow Medicine County election Board;   6 krumkaake reported broken but repaired with extra frosting"; save me.)
     My take is 3 fold: the ruling is cumbersome but moves things forward; it favors whoever is leading (pay attention Norm, this will NOT be you on Friday); and it favors whichever side wants to stand for counting every vote on principle, win or lose. So thats a 2 out of 3 for Franken.
     Here at DailyKos a newbie with a really short screen name ("kos" if you can believe it) and with a really small UID number (nice work kid; keep it up and your UID will grow pretty quickly) put up a nice diary on the Front Page that has links to both the Decision and Page's dissent here:
(Anybody who thinks an All-Pro defensive lineman CAN'T be a Supreme Court Justice with real fire, stand over there and make like a tackling dummy!)
     Both sides lawyers claimed to be pleased. "We are very happy with the decision"--Knaak (Coleman).
"We're happy that the Supreme Court rejected the Coleman campaign effort to stop the count."--Elias (Franken)

Friday Morning with the Minnesota Media
     Pat Doyle of the Star Trib gets A1, top, "Court: Count All Ballots" and sidebox highlight "Coleman's lead down to 5 votes--for now" Story B1.
    Info from Doyle's article included above.
    Duchschere gets the lead of the B1 story: "Coleman's lead over Franken shrivels" (I don't think Norm won the battle fo the headlines today.)........ Light Sabers: Elias:

"When the recount is over and all the votes that were legally cast are counted, Al Franken will have won this election and will be declared the winner...........There is a systematic effort by the Coleman campaign to prevent all the votes from being counted, for one reason and one reason only -- which is that they know that they are lying and that if all the votes are counted, they will lose this election."
     Responded Coleman attorney Fritz Knaak: "Mr. Elias has cast aspersions on our intentions from the beginning ... I understand his need to do that. That is not the case."

Funny Pages--- Minnesota Nice

      A ballot from Mankato (S central MN) was challenged by Coleman because the voter had filled in the oval correctly but had added to Al's name: "Frankenstin" (Gene Wilder: "Its Frahnken-steen." Eye-gor: "They told me it was Franken-stine!") Coleman's Trimble argued voter had NOT voted for Franken but for somebody else. Franken's Elias countered the vote was still for the DFL (Minnesotan for "Democratic") candidate. Board agreed with Elias...3-2 (!).    
      One of the ballots Coleman had challenged (stray/identifying mark I suppose) was a Franken vote where the voter had written in the margin, "Thank you for counting my vote." The whole Canvassing Board cracked up and one of them said, "Well I guess we're going to have to count this one." After they voted (challenged denied, +1 Al) someone else looked at the ballot once more and said, "You're welcome."

OK, MUST have a 2nd cup of coffee, so thats a fair bit of the mostly latest (subject to revision, updates, terms and conditions of use; performed by a professional driver on a closed course, do not attempt at home) from yust southeast of Lake Wobegon.


(UPDATE: PS. Through a mis-reading of close comments a rumor got started yesterday the WineRev was out of a job, and could the community take up a collection. Laying that one to rest: I'm still at it at the wine shop and look to be for some time. But it was very touching and I'm choked up about it. ("sniff")
  But really, I have a job and its OK. (Now if you are a literary agent or small publisher, or know one, who is looking for a drop-dead good novel on racial reconciliation in America, how the country could have begun "the change we need" almost 100 years ago, well, drop me an e-mail and we'll talk terms. Really.

Originally posted to WineRev on Fri Dec 19, 2008 at 05:13 AM PST.

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