As if a 215 vote margin wasn't close enough, the Minnesota Senate race between incumbent Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken has gotten even closer after about 18 percent of the ballots counted in a mandatory recount, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
After the first day of counting, Coleman's lead going into the recount slipped to just 174 votes. Observers for both campaigns are on hand for the recount and are allowed to challenge questionable ballots. It's those challenges which could be a deciding factor in the ultimate outcome of the race. Ballots challenged by either campaign are set aside until the middle of December when the state canvassing board will look at each individually. So far, a total of 269 votes have been challenged, 146 by Coleman's representatives and 123 by Franken's.