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As Recount Ends, Franken Claims Four-Vote Lead; More Ballots Materialize

In what could end up being the closest Senate race in U.S. history, Al Franken now claims a four-vote lead over incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman in the Minnesota recount, according to our sister site, The Minnesota Independent.

The recount officially ended today, but by any reasonable measure, the race is far from over. More than 6,000 ballots challenged by the two campaigns still need to be resolved — and then there’s that issue of the ballots that keep vanishing and appearing.

The 133 ballots that disappeared on Wednesday have yet to be found — but in the process of searching for them, election officials somehow discovered an envelope of previously uncounted absentee ballots.

Meanwhile, a state official confirmed that if the 133 missing ballots from a Franken-friendly precinct are not found, the state could simply use the election-night tally — a potentially huge boost for Franken, since he stands to lose a net 46 votes if these ballots are excluded from the final count.

If the Franken camp’s projection holds, this will be the closest Senate election in history, edging out the 1974 New Hampshire race that saw the victor winning by a mere 10 votes after a recount.

With the race potentially being decided by a single-digit margin, one has to wonder how many more ballots will vanish into, or materialize from, the Minnesota ether.

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