MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) – Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said after a long day of reviewing more challenged ballots Wednesday that a certification of recount results in the race between Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken in Minnesota's Senate race would not be released until next week, assuming the review of challenged ballots ends on Friday.
But a few unresolved issues still remain. One is the question over what to do with improperly rejected absentee ballots: The state canvassing board-the entity of judges, along with Ritchie, charged with overseeing the recount-has asked for counties to begin the process of reviewing and counting those. However, the Coleman campaign has said there is no "uniform" method for doing so.
Wednesday, the state Supreme Court heard the Coleman team's arguments and said a decision is "forthcoming."
Another still unresolved issue is how the state will handle "duplicate ballots," as they're being called. Duplicate ballots arise when, for one reason or another, a ballot is not fit to be sent through the optical scanning machines, perhaps due to a ballot from overseas that may have been printed on standard sheets of paper and mailed in as opposed to a ballot of the thick cardstock used in typical voting booths.
Ballots that are unfit for the machines would then be assigned a "duplicate ballot." Essentially, the information from the unusable ballot is transposed onto acceptable ballots and sent through the machines that way. The Coleman campaign has alleged that these ballots (the original and the duplicate) were not separated properly and "double counting" may have been taking place.
Members of the canvassing board did not come to a decision on what to do with these ballots as of Wednesday night, but agreed to take up the matter again Thursday.
All in all, about 415 challenged ballots have been reviewed as of Wednesday evening. This all but concludes the pile of discrepancies from the Franken campaign. Thursday morning they will begin to sift through a stack of about 1,000 challenges from the Coleman team-more than double the amount from Franken. The board's main concern is this large number will equal a fairly great number of frivolous challenges and they urged the Coleman campaign to consider withdrawing more before the board reconvenes Thursday.
The Secretary of State's office does not keep a running tally itself of the results after each day of reviewing challenges, but the majority from the past two days have been added to Coleman's total. This was expected however, since the challenges came from Franken's side. Coleman thus maintains his slight lead and currently sits with about a 350 vote edge over his Democratic opponent.