Senator Norm Coleman's lead over Al Franken shrunk again from 206 to an even 200 votes after counties from all over Minnesota turned in their audits Friday. The hand count audits were only of 3 to 5 precincts in any given county and are done after every election in Minnesota to check the accuracy of the voting machines.
Besides the vote totals, the audit had some indications that getting more than a hundred county and local government units to follow the same standards and procedures in the anticipated recount may be difficult.
In Cottonwood County, a ballot was lightly marked for Norm Coleman but the electronic vote scanner did not record a vote for Coleman. This was discovered when Cottonwood election officials counted the ballots by hand for the audit. However, election official Jan Johnson sent in the audit indicating there had been no change in the vote for Coleman. Johnson told The UpTake that "voter intent" was not to be determined during the audit, but the ballot would definitely be in the Coleman column when there was a recount.
The Secretary of State's office disagreed, telling The UpTake that voter intent was to be a factor in the audit as well as the recount. The Secretary of State's office apparently won that argument. When the final audit numbers were filed on Friday, the ballot in Cottonwood County was in the Colman column.
In Minneapolis' Ward 7, Precinct 9, election officials took two votes away from Franken and one from Coleman noting that the ballots were "questionable" but noting that the machine counted them.
In Redwood Falls Ward 3, vote totals for Norm Coleman remained the same despite a notation that one of the machines had a "questionable" reading.
In Stevens County one ballot was "found under ballot counter above ballot box".
The full results from the audit can be found here.
Below is a handy table to see where Franken and Coleman lost or gained votes.
Video from The UpTake: MN Secretary of State Mark Ritchie says he's "here to take the attack" from Republicans.
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