Minnesota Senate Race Could Be in Limbo Until Dec. 19

Posted November 7, 2008 at 6:16pm

The Minnesota Senate race will not be finished for more than a month. Initial results from the mandatory recount will likely not be completed until Dec. 5, according to state officials.

Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie announced that he met with representatives from the campaigns of Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) and comedian Al Franken (D) on Friday afternoon to plan the recount. At about the same time, Coleman led Franken by a 238 votes — a number that fluctuated throughout the day on Friday.

In a news release, Ritchie’s office said local officials must finish their recount and submit results to his office by Dec. 5. The state canvassing board will aim to finish the entire process by Dec. 19.

The secretary of state also announced that in accordance with Minnesota law, there will be designated officials examining each ballot by hand to determine the voter’s intent. Both candidates will be allowed to have an observer present for this process, and the state canvassing board will review all of the challenged ballots.

Under state law, the small margin between Coleman and Franken — less than half of 1 percent — automatically triggers a statewide recount.