Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Minnesota Recount Update

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

Update: MPR has notes on the recounts at various locations today. And they also have a great selection of challenged ballots that we can all have an opinion on.

With 18% of the votes counted, Coleman lost 86 votes, and Franken lost 45 votes, for a net gain for Franken of 41 votes, cutting the lead to 174.

However, Coleman has challenged more ballots, 146 to 123 for Franken. If you assume each ballot has a 50% chance of being approved, than Coleman could gain back a net 11-12 votes. But who knows if that assumption is real. The Coleman challenges could have a lower threshold than the Franken challenges, which would mean a lower % of their challenged ballots might be approved. Are new Franken voters more likely to to not have filled out their ballot correctly? It's really hard to tell.

The above was due to a misunderstanding of what a challenged ballot is. Ballots are placed in 3 piles: Coleman, Franken, or novote/other vote. Franken, for example, could challenge a ballot going into Coleman's pile (Challenge Type A), or he could challenge a ballot he would like to go into his own pile but went into the "no vote" pile (Challenge Type B). If we assume all the lost votes are due to Type A challenges, we can do a little math.

Assume 75% of the Type A challenges are allowed. This seems reasonable, as the recount officials felt they should be allowed. Coleman gains back 64, Franken gains back 34, for Coleman +30.

The rest are Type B challenges. Coleman has 146 - 45 (Franken lost votes) = 101. Franken has 123 - 86 (Coleman lost votes) = 37. Assume 25% of these votes get allowed. Coleman picks up a net 16, For a total net challenges gain of 46. Which gives him a net gain on the day of +5.

Let us know what you think of this analysis.

Also, Franken did win a potentially significant court case today, giving them information on voters whose absentee ballots were rejected.