(CNN) – The number of ballots being challenged in the Minnesota recount is growing. This as more than 40 percent of votes have been recounted in the battle for Norm Coleman's US Senate seat. The recount kicked off Wednesday and could extend into next month.
Unofficial results from the November 4th election put Coleman, a freshman Republican senator, just 215 votes ahead of his Democratic challenger, Al Franken, known across the country from his days on Saturday Night Live and from his years as a talk show host on Air America, the progressive radio network. The slim margin for Coleman, far less than one half of one percent, triggered an automatic recount, the first time there's ever been a recount of a US senate race in Minnesota.
Now election officials, at 107 sites across Minnesota, are beginning the long process of recounting all of the ballots. They're surrounded by election observers and lawyers from both campaigns, and the media.
The Secretary of State's office reports that 734 ballots have been challenged in the first two days of recounting, with 374 questioned by Franken's camp and 360 by Coleman's camp.
Earlier: Minnesota recount could get ugly
According to the Secretary of State's office, 42.33 percent of the more than 2.9 million votes cast in the election were recounted by yesterday. It appears Franken's made a dent into Coleman's pre recount lead of 215. According to the results posted on the Secretary of State's website, Franken now trails Coleman by 129 votes.
The recount will extend well into December. The recount sites across Minnesota have a deadline of the first week of December to report their results. After that the state's canvassing board meets to rule on disputed ballots and to certify the election. And after that, if one side is not happy with the results, legal action could be possible.