[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/11/25/art.mnrecount1125.ap.jpg caption="It seems the end of the recount won't mean the end of the Senate contest."]MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) -It looks like it will take even longer than expected to declare a winner in Minnesota’s historically tight U.S. Senate race between incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken.
As of Thursday night, it appears as if the state canvassing board’s unofficial deadline of this Friday will be postponed due to an envelope of about 130 lost ballots from the city of Minneapolis. Deputy Secretary of State Jim Gelbmann said Thursday that, due to the “extraordinary circumstances,” the city now has until December 16 to locate the votes. That’s day the board is set to meet and take further action in the recount process.
“We won't meet our goal to have all ballots hand counted by the end of the day [Friday] unless the envelope returns in the next 24 hours,” Gelbmann told CNN.
Minneapolis Elections Director Cindy Reichert said she’s “not sure where [the missing envelope] would have gone” but that they’re “in the process of looking under everything.”
With most of the ballots recounted at this point, Coleman maintains his slim lead at about 300 votes.
Spokesmen for both campaigns would not immediately return requests for comment.