(CNN) - With somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 ballots left to be processed, the recount in Minnesota's U.S. Senate race will resume this week and likely will not be resolved until the end of the month, Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said Sunday.
A unofficial running tally on the Minneapolis Star Tribune's Web site had Democrat Al Franken leading incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman by 251 votes
on Sunday - in a race in which nearly 2.5 million votes were cast - but Ritchie cautioned against pronouncing either candidate ahead until all votes are counted.
"From the first night of the election - election night, November 4 - it has been impossible to say which candidate was leading because it is not known
who's leading until all the ballots are counted," Ritchie said in an interview with CNNRadio.
"The many people who have been making pronouncements about who's ahead and who's behind are not speaking from a knowledge base. They are speculating."
Ritchie said the state canvassing board has completed the vast majority of the main work in the first round of the recount and board members will meet
Tuesday to finalize vote totals. That will leave between 1,000 and 2,000 wrongly rejected absentee ballots and about 150 overseas ballots left to be processed, he said.
"We had 99.97 percent agreement in the first round, that's with the candidates and the local election officials," Ritchie said.
Ritchie said the final decisions on the ballots left to be processed are due on December 31. The next meeting of the state canvassing board after that
date is scheduled for January 5, Ritchie said.
Asked what would happen if the election is not finalized by the time senators are sworn in in January, Ritchie said, "I don't know.
"It's somebody else's area of law. My only job is determine how the people of Minnesota voted on November 4."
– CNNRadio's Amanda Moyer contributed to this report.
Is it ridiculous to make sure every vote is counted?
Surely the most sensible thing would be to have a run-off with just Coleman and Franken. The fact that each received about 42 of the vote means that whichever is declared the winner will not have what many would regard as a proper mandate. A run-off would produce a clear winner. My guess is that Franken would win, given that most of those who chose the Independent candidate seem to have been moderates who are turned off by Coleman.
How is this ridiculous? Taking time to insure a thorough job in counting all votes seems a rather sane way of going about things.
Just remember, when Republicans suppress votes and win elections without a majority, it's called a "Victory"... when Democrats do it, it's called "Stealing"...
ALL votes should count
Go Al go!
What is wrong with the both of them?
I disagree completely. There' no hurry. In the worst case, the poor old USA will limp along with only 99 Senators for awhile. Boo-effin-hoo.
It's better to do things slowly and carefully, which is what is being done, than to rush through. A lot of the problems with the Florida 2000 recount came from a combination of delaying actions and attempts to rush the process. That hasn't happened here.
We're only a little behind schedule, and as I said, there's no real hurry. This was just a freakishly close, hard-to-decide election.
Why do you think so? It looks like a great example of Democracy at work to me! It was a close race and the recount process is working well, unlike Florida where lawyers stopped it before the true result was known.
AL IS GREAT. WE LOVE AL. RAH RAH RAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This has been ridiculous since Al Franken announced that he was running. What were you think9ing Minnesotans who voted for him?!!
oh great! Another fool in Congress if Franken wins! Not that Coleman is any better but personally I rather see anybody than Franken win. He is an idiot who thought he was a comic!! he will do this country no good!!!
It amazes me that there are that many people in Minnesota who would vote for Al Franken. Seems like lots of people voting twice, or maybe dead people; just lots of illegal voting. If I lived in Minnesota, I'd be outraged by all the illegal going's on.
only because they keep announcing the tallies like it means something.
Coleman ought to be ashamed. A comic is beating him. It should not even be this close.
Even though it looks like it will take almost two months I am still encouraged that we are counting every vote and when this is all said and done someone will be declared a fair victor. Democracy is sometimes frustrating and reminds that in the end we follow the will of the people. If only Florida had followed suit with a full recount in 2000 perhaps there might have been a change. But America always (sooner or later) learns from her mistakes. We have change now and though I personally will not trust government I will stand their to hold them accountable with my vote.
Franklin is a joker. He is trying whatever possible way to come to senate. Democrats also want to have one more senator. They do not care who he is. Imagien what kind of a person we will have in senate if he hs elected. I hope Colman will keep his seat for God's sake.
Got to get it right, even if it takes a while. Minnesotans are patient and fair. Besides there not much else to do up here now except snow sports and count ballots!
Go Al, go. I'm loving this.
If they would have put this much effort in the Fla. count Al Gore would be president. What a shame.
it is ridiculous. i guess people can't count nowadays
If Franken, with the help of ACORN and the sleazy Democrats succeeds in stealing this election, he will be completely illegitimate. The rest of the country knows exactly what's going on.
Just have a second election, and Coleman will destroy Franken.
THAT is the true will of the people!
I hope Coleman is capable of getting angry enough to, if necessary, bring a challenge to the Supreme Court!
It looks as if Bill O'Reilly is going to have to deal with the fact that Al Franken will be the next senator from Minnesota. Smelling salt over at FoxNews, please.