"Things are getting curiouser and curiouser in Minnesota," said Chris Cillizza in The Washington Post. According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's running vote count, entertainer Al Franken, a Democrat, "now leads Sen. Norm Coleman (R) for the first time since election day in the never-ending recount process" as the Canvassing Board many of Coleman's last remaining ballot challenges.
This race is a long way from over, said Lori Sturdevant in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star-Tribune. The state Supreme Court just ruled on the question of counting the 1,600 improperly rejected absentee ballots, which Coleman wanted to block. "Instead of issuing a clear 'yes' or 'no'" on whether local officials should count them, a split court essentially told local election administrators not to open any ballot unless both campaigns agreed it should be counted.
That just sets the stage for more confusion, delays, and heated tempers, said Nate Silver in FiveThirtyEight. The temptation for both campaigns will be to apply "inconsistent standards" for accepting the sealed absentee votes, depending on which candidate they think each ballot will favor. But if the winner changes his standards for legitimacy from precinct to precinct, it will just set up an exceptionally strong Equal Protection challenge for the other side.
Franken is the one who stands to gain from any confusion, said John Hinderaker in Power Line. Unless there is a uniform standard that is conscientiously applied in determining which of the absentee ballots should be counted, “the advantage will go to the most partisan counties that control the most votes—not coincidentally, the most strongly Democratic counties.”
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