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Minnesota Senate Recount: "Stay Civil"

Here's the latest on the recount that just won't quit: Amid wrangling between the Norm Coleman and Al Franken camps over rejected absentee ballots that has pushed the recount battle "deeper into confusion and bickering," as the Star Tribune puts it, the deputy secretary of state is asking all parties to keep things "civil."

But in a bitterly-fought contest such as this one – in which Franken now holds a miniscule 47 vote lead – civility isn't either side's first priority. The Coleman camp this morning emailed a statement complaining both about the opposition and the authorities: Team Franken, they say, adopted a "'take it or leave it' approach [that] left no room for negotiation," while Deputy Secretary of State Jim Gelbmann "inserted himself in this process" in a way the Coleman camp seems to suggest was improper.

Lawyers for both sides have been battling over more than 1,300 unopened and incorrectly rejected absentee ballots that the Trib suggests favor Franken. The Coleman camp wants an additional 650 ballots – mostly from suburban and rural counties where Coleman did well – added to the count.

And Coleman's side has thus far only agreed that 778 of the initial rejected ballots should be reviewed, prompting charges from Franken's camp that the opposition is "cherry picking" so that ballots most favorable to their side are disproportionately counted.

The counting process must end by Jan. 4th, and the Canvassing Board has suggested it could declare a winner as soon as next Tuesday, January 6th – the day the new Congress will be sworn in.

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