Latest on Al Franken’s Election

TPM has posted a summary of the latest ruling by the Minnesota elections court. 

The Minnesota election court has just handed down a much-awaited ruling, laying out which previously-rejected ballots might just be counted yet — and though it’s unclear right now whose votes are whose, it doesn’t look all that good for Norm Coleman.

It looks as if, after a very thorough review, the Court is going to look at only 400 ballots to determine if they should be counted. 

Both campaigns submitted lists of ballots that they said they’d proven were legal and ought to be counted — and here’s what the court thought of them:

“Upon the Court’s initial review, it became apparent that the parties’ spreadsheets identifying the relevant exhibits were inadequate and unreliable. This required the Court to complete an exhaustive review of all the records and documents submitted by either party throughout the course of the entire trial.”

The court thus reviewed:

“…19,181 pages of filings, including pleadings, motions and legal memoranda from the parties; 1,717 individual exhibits admitted into evidence; and testimony from 142 witness examinations, including election officials from 38 Minnesota counties and cities and 69 voters who appeared and testified in defense of their ballots. The trial evidence comprised exhibits offered in three-ring binders that, when stacked, equaled over 21 feet of paper copies.”

Don’t think they’re just complaining about the length — not that anybody would blame them. The court is clearly establishing the level of diligence they went to in order to decide the questions at hand — thus guarding themselves against any appeal on procedural grounds.

As I understand the process, the ballots will be reviewed  by the Secretary of Stae to make sure they are complete and can be counted and however many of the 400 ballots pass muster will then be counted.  So I think one can assume that not all of the 400 will be counted and not all of the ballots that are counted will go to Norm Coleman.  Therefore this is bad news for Norm given that Al Franken has at least a 225 vote lead.

One of the commentators to TPM wrote

If all 400 ballots were counted, Coleman would need a 313-87 split to overtake Franken. There’d be about a 1 in a million chance of the votes breaking in Coleman’s favor like that. Ans since not all 400 ballots will be counted, so I think it’s safe to say that Coleman is finished.

If all this is true, Al Franken may be (finally!) just a few days from being Senator Al.

Looking for Dice-K

Yesterday I was minding my own business when I got an email from Florida.  A co-worker on vacation was at the Red Sox spring training game and sent a picture.  Then she said that Dice-K was pitching and Lowell, Pedroia and Youkilis were also playing.  Sent a wave of envy through my end of the floor when I forwarded the picture.

So the word on Daisuke Matsuzaka in his first spring training game is good.  Effective and efficient.  This this a good sign for the spring?  Will having pitched for the winning Japan in the World Baseball Classic hurt or help him in the long run? Hard to say.  But along with the various injuries that appear to be healing and Matsuzaka’s performance yesterday, the Sox look good. 

From the  Boston Globe’s Extra Bases blog

“Seventy-five pitches through five innings is ideally what we were hoping to get through today,” said pitching coach John Farrell after the Sox’ 4-3 loss in 10 innings to the Atlanta Braves.

“I surprised myself,” Matsuzaka said with a mischievous grin, suggesting he is growing tired of the constant questions about his pitch efficiency. “The Red Sox keep reminding me that I was a little bit ahead of schedule, but on the other hand, getting ready for the WBC put me ahead [of everyone else]. I’d like to take that in a positive way.”

There wasn’t much else to report from the clubhouse, where the Sox were eager to depart after two long road trips in two days. Farrell made repeated note of Matsuzaka’s willingness/ability to rely on his two-seam fastball, a pitch designed to quick outs and conserve pitches.

Matsuzaka also made a point of noting that he was working on his “movement,” suggesting he is more focused on, as Farrell said, “pitching to contact.”

The countdown clock to opening day reads 6 days, 7 hours, and 12 minutes.  It’s Spring!