If you’re like me, this whole recount thing has been hard to keep track of… patricularly with competing claims from each side. The Washington Post has an excellent primer on what is really happening:
It is [the] challenged ballots, which number roughly 6,000, that are responsible for the confusion.
The secretary of State’s office chooses not to count any of these ballots in its overall vote count — meaning that when the recount ends on Friday there will be 6,000 or so fewer votes than there were on election day.
The Franken campaign, on the other hand, is counting all 6,000 votes — using as its standard the judgment of the independent observer. So, if the independent analyst ruled a ballot as a vote for Coleman — even if Franken is challenging it — the Franken campaign counts it as a vote for Coleman.
In short: the secretary of State is counting none of the challenged ballots and the Franken campaign is counting all of the challenged ballots. It’s that simple.
The fate of the race likely rests in the hands of how these 6,000 challenged ballots shake out. Once the recount ends, a five-person canvassing board is set to meet on Dec. 16 to make final rulings on the remaining challenged ballots.
Our take: This race is about as close to a tie as you can get. But, remember that in politics perception matters and both sides are, smartly, seeking to win the PR battle.