Recount recap: Absentee votes could decide Senate race

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It's a big day in the Norm Coleman vs. Al Franken brawl for the Senate seat. The state Canvassing Board meets today to determine if they will consider rejected absentee votes in the final tally. They will meet at 9:30 a.m. today and local experts says these votes could lead to a Franken win.  

At the end of the day Tuesday, Coleman was ahead with 238 votes, according to the Minnesota Secretary of State office. The Star Tribune reports Coleman's lead at 231. 

FiveThirtyEight's graphic shows Coleman pulling ahead in the amount of challenged ballots, but these numbers still don't mean a lot because both campaigns claim the other is producing frivolous challenges.


Watch the meeting live here:


It's unclear how many absentee votes might be reconsidered. The ballots in question were rejected due to administrative mistakes, Franken's camp says

The importance of today's meeting is being reported nationwide. In the Wall Street Journal, the University of Minnesota's political junkie Larry Jacobs says these votes will determine the results of the race. 
"Things are clearly moving in the wrong direction for Franken [in the recount]," Larry Jacobs, a political scientist at the University of Minnesota, told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. He says many of the challenges filed by both campaigns against individual ballots are frivolous and will be withdrawn or dismissed by the canvassing board: "The Franken campaign is going to win or lose based on what happens with the absentees."
When will all of this be done? 

Here is a reminder: 
Dec. 5: all counties are expected to have finished counting ballots. 
Dec. 16: the State Canvassing Board meets to determine the fate of challenged ballots. 

Originally the estimate was a completion date of Dec. 19, but with the mounting challenges and potential court battles, some are preparing for an empty seat in the Senate come January.


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