The U.S. Senate ballot recount has been completed in 36 of Minnesota’s 87 counties, according to the Secretary of State’s website as of 8:00 pm Thursday evening.

A Smart Politics study of those counties in which 100% of the ballots have been recounted finds an astonishingly similar rate of challenged ballots in counties that were carried by Norm Coleman and those that were won by Al Franken.

Coleman carried 27 of the 36 counties that have completed the recount process: Carver, Cass, Chisago, Clay, Clearwater, Cottonwood, Faribault, Fillmore, Grant, Houston, Hubbard, Kandiyohi, Lincoln, Lyon, Morrison, Murray, Nobles, Otter Trail, Pennington, Pipestone, Pope, Red Lake, Redwood, Roseau, Sibley, Traverse, and Yellow Medicine.

Of the 332,568 ballots that were examined in these 27 Coleman counties, a total of 183 were challenged by the two candidates – or 5.55 out of every 10,000 ballots cast.

Franken carried the remaining 9 counties that have finished recounting ballots: Big Stone, Chippewa, Cook, Freeborn, Itsaca, Lake, Norman, Pine, and Rice.

Out of the 111,497 recounted in these Franken counties, 61 were challenged – or 5.47 out of every 10,000 ballots cast.

It is true there has been a wide range in the rate of ballot challenges between individual counties. For example, Pipestone County, which Coleman carried, had a challenge rate of 33 per 10,000 ballots (about six times the state average thus far). Cook County, which Franken won, had a challenge rate of 30 per 10,000 ballots. Fillmore County, carried by Coleman, had a challenge rate of 27 per 10,000 ballots.

Meanwhile, 5 counties (Clearwater, Lincoln, Red Lake, Redwood, and Norman) had no challenged ballots by either candidate.

In short, from the three-dozen counties that have completed recounts, there does not seem to be an aggregate pattern of more questionable ballots in either Democratic or Republican counties, though this could change as recounting is completed in the more populous counties of the state.

It is important to note that simply because one candidate carries a county does not mean most of the challenges will come from the losing party. In fact, a majority of challenges have come from the winning candidate in 31 percent of counties that have completed recounts (11 of 36). Forty-four percent (16 of 36) of counties were led in challenges by the losing party and 25 percent of counties (9 of 36) had an equal number of challenges by Coleman and Franken:

Ballot Challenge Leader By County Winner

County Winner
More Coleman Challenges
More Franken Challenges
Equal Number of Challenges
Coleman
8
13
6
Franken
3
3
3

1 Comment

  1. John K on November 21, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122722771153246225.html

    Al Franken’s Minnesota
    More postelection funny business.