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December 08, 2008

Misplaced Minnesota ballots will remain missing

From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

The missing 133 ballots in a Minneapolis precinct are going to stay missing - at least for now.

City spokesman Matt Laible said today that officials had suspended the search for the ballots that began after they turned up missing in the waning hours of last week's U.S. Senate recount.

The matter will be turned over to the state Canvassing Board, which will decide whether the 133 will be officially counted, Laible said.

The ballots at issue are from the Dinkytown neighborhood, a heavily Democratic area, and a comparison of Election Day results and recount totals indicates that not counting them could cost Al Franken a net of 46 votes. That has prompted his campaign to complain loudly about the disappearance. The campaign of Republican Sen. Norm Coleman, however, expressed skepticism that the ballots were truly lost.

Franken campaign attorney Marc Elias, who previously said election officials "ought to move heaven and earth" to find the ballots, now says that the campaign favors using the original Election Night count as the official tally in the Minneapolis precinct.