On Election Day, Coleman was 725 votes ahead of Franken. That margin was so slim it triggered a mandatory recount to be conducted by Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie (D.).
That edge winnowed to 477 on Wednesday, 338 on Thursday and then 221 on Friday.
100 of the votes that came in for Franken's favor from Mountain Iron and St. Louis counties were time stamped on November 2---two days before the election. Ccunty election officials says the voting machines just had the wrong date, but Coleman's staff doesn't think they are legit. Every single one of the votes from these two counties went for Coleman and Obama.
"Obviously, this is highly suspicious. They found 100 votes, and it's statistically impossible that all 100 votes went to the two Democrats, even in St. Louis County," Coleman's campaign manager Cullen Sheehan told the Star-Tribune.
Secretary Ritchie has expressed commitment for keeping recounts clean and fair. He wrote an email last month to supporters of the liberal and partisan "Democracy in Action" about the recount for the state Supreme Court election.
"Recounting elections, however, should not become a sham like Florida in 2000," Ritchie said. We have an opportunity to show the nation the importance of paper ballots that can be recounted, dedicated non-partisan election administrators that put public service first, and state laws that define the process to ensure transparency and fairness."
Regardless of his attacks on the 2000 recount, I hope he will properly count the ballots. But something makes me doubt that. I have more background on Ritchie's partisanship HERE.
Update: An Hennepin election official "found" 32 absentee ballots for Franken IN HER CAR. Coleman asked that they not be counted because they had not been kept in a sealed ballot box, but his request was DENIED. These 32 ballots helped Franken close in to Coleman by 221 votes.
Coleman's attorney says this "raises integrity questions" because the ballots had been allegedly "riding around in her car for several days."