(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.
I am shocked that there are so many people in Minnesota that would vote for a person like Al Franken. By the way, why does he claim to be a comedian? He's not funny. He's the most mean-spirited, cynical person I've ever seen. Can that many Minnesotans be that stupid? Apparently, yes.
Uh oh, Coleman has fallen behind (maybe) and now brace yourself for the "Republican rent-a-mob." You remember that crew: In 2000, the re-count of the presidential election (Bush/Gore) was interrupted by angry "concerned citizens," who were later identified as Republican staffers. I still don't understand how counting ALL the voters was somehow "damaging to societal interests." Let's hope the man with the most votes wins this time – whomever it might be!
with that incident bush and his administration still won the election? just shows the attidude of this government. i never trusted them from the start
this became ridiculous the day democrats nominated this hyperpartisan buffoon
Al Franken should tell Pastor Rick Warren that the Church Age is over.
Geez! This contest isn't fraught with nearly the number of legal isues that were brought up in the 2000 FL recount and yet it goes on and on. SOmebody needs to get this shifted in to high gear and get it done.
At the rate this state is counting it's ballots for the Senatorial race, the term of the winning Senator will have expired by the time they finish.
Franken is an idiot! :(
But PEBO is a Chicago politician who has participated in palm-greasing thuggery!
He is also an Alinsky graduate in community organizing!
And a guy in search of an identity. He is neither black nor white, and his parents basically abandoned him!
Manipulative rhetoric is his game, and the pseudo intellectuals have bought his blather!
Can he continue the con? We will soon see!
What's this country coming to if a "sick comic" like Al Franken makes it to Congress!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Am I the only one who has been hearing about some fresh ink on those ballots now being recounted?
Why is this rediculous? MN has a organized method to deal with a very, very close election. MN is how it should be done with a close election.
Coleman won in the beginning by a couple hundred votes. Franken just refuses to loose and cant except it. Coleman deserves the spot
I think whoever wins this, needs to accept his responsibility to serve the people of the state of Minnesota, and whoever looses, needs to accept defeat graciously and work together with the winner. That is what I think we can learn from this senate election.
Let them count every ballot that was cast and meets the criteria. Only then will Minnesota be represented by the peoples choice.
Fight for evry last vote Al.
I wonder what his campaign slogan was? "Give your money to me, Al Franken", perhaps? :)
Lets count, recount, and recount again until Al Franken win .....
Franken is a jerk, and Minnesota is a joke if he's elected .
Imagine if this were a close presidential election and we had no electoral college. We could have this same sort of thing playing out all around the country for weeks on end.
Seems to me that at this point the people of Minnesota will lose no matter which candidate wins.They are fast replacing Florida as the most incapable state to vote in elections of any kind.Perhaps just a coin flip would be better in those states but the coin would probably fall through a crack in the floor.
Coleman's teeth are ridiculous.
You know what the best thing will be if al wins? Just that it would make Bill O'Reilly angrier than ever.
I hope Franken wins. Bill O'Reilly will lose his mind.
this is democracy in action....get used to it.