Franken picked up 37 votes from machine with uncounted ballots. This one is far from over.

This is another reason why recounts matter. Ballots were missed in the initial count — and Al Franken benefited to the tune of a not insignificant total of 37 votes:

The final day of recounting in Ramsey County in the U.S. Senate race kicked up controversy today when 171 uncounted ballots from Maplewood turned up. The ballots apparently had been uncounted because of a ballot-counting-machine malfunction on Election Day.

Democrat Al Franken made a net gain of 37 votes from the ballots, as he got 91 of the total, to 54 for Republican Sen. Norm Coleman and 26 for other candidates, including Dean Barkley of the Independence Party.

At a press conference earlier today, Franken’s lawyer said the margin, by their count, was down to 50 votes:

Minnesota Democrat Al Franken’s lead attorney said Tuesday that his count shows the comedian trailing Sen. Norm Coleman by just 50 votes with more than 200,000 left to be counted.

Attorney Marc Elias held his press conference in Washington just hours after elections officials found nearly 200 ballots that had not been counted on election night.

We won’t know who won this race for awhile. It will come down to the ballots challenged during the recount process. As of last night, Coleman had challenged 3067 ballots while Franken had challenged 2876. The five-member canvassing board will review those challenges beginning December 16th. Franken’s lawyer also said today that most of the challenges wouldn’t hold:

“I’m here to tell you that the vast majority of these challenges are going to be thrown out,” Elias said. “We’re confident that we’re going to gain votes when the challenges are resolved.”

We may yet see Senator Franken.

One quick update: The 50-vote lead of which Franken’s lawyer spoke did not include the 37 new votes. That would mean the margin is down to 13 votes.

On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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