Minn. recount recap: Ballot lost and found, let's flip a coin

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It's such a relief to know the recount ends tomorrow. Unfortunately that just means we'll be focused on Norm Coleman and Al Franken contested ballots. Good grief. 

More than 97 percent of the votes are counted and Coleman leads with 316 votes. There are now a total of 6,326 challenges. Franken still says he is in the lead based on their own counts. What does the New York Times think we should do to end the misery? Just flip a coin.

According to the NY Times story, this recount can't be perfect and will still likely be a statistical tie.
Minnesota's instruments for counting votes are simply too crude to determine the winner in a race this tight. This is not the state's fault. In fact, Minnesota's election laws, procedures and equipment are among the best in the country. The problem is that a voting system that is based on physically recounting chits of paper is inherently error-prone, and in a close election like this, the errors are too large for the process to determine a winner. Even though, at the end of the recount, it will seem as if one candidate has won by a hair, the outcome will really be a statistical tie. 
Luckily, Minnesota's electoral law has a provision for ties. After all the counting and recounting, if the vote is statistically tied, the state should invoke the section of the law that requires the victor to be chosen by lot. It's hard to swallow, but the right way to end the senatorial race between Mr. Coleman and Mr. Franken will be to flip a coin.
The Minneapolis ballots, which were either lost or double counted (depending on who you ask) are causing quite a stir. FiveThirtyEight gives their explanation. The drawn-out recount requires the campaigns to continue raising money. 

While this might seem ridiculous, the campaigns must continue to employee campaign workers and pay rent and utilities, according to Minnesota Public Radio.
University of Minnesota Political Science Professor Larry Jacobs is predicting, by the time Minnesota's recount is done, it will have cost Republicans and Democrats double that. 
"My hunch is by the end of the day this recount and the contested election could well be close to $5 million for each campaign," Jacobs said. "This has become literally an army of folks for each campaign that's had to be mobilized. Very expensive."
And where has Coleman been these days? Doing Senate duties, says MPR

Campaign attorney Fritz Knaak said:
"He has largely stayed out of the way and done largely Senatorial things and left the recount to the recount team. I haven't been directed to do anything by him. I haven't been told not to do anything because of anything he has said. I have been pretty much been given free reign to do this as needs to be done..."

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