As the official election returns come in from the senatorial race in Minnesota, we've seen the margins of victory for Norm Coleman repeatedly dwindle from 762 votes over the past few days to just 221 as of yesterday, due to "miscount" in the local tallies... and we haven't even gotten to the point of anyone even examining the ballots themselves yet!
Ironically enough, Coleman campaign manager Cullen Sheehan is now complaining about "statistically dubious and improbable shifts that are overwhelmingly accruing to the benefit of Al Franken."
(So... how do you distinguish that from unexplained and potentially fraudulent vote tallies disproportionately in your candidate's favor, Mr. Sheehan? Gee... if only Al Franken had done the right thing and withdrawn from the race, it would all be so much clearer, wouldn't it?!)
But if that wasn't enough to make you question the actual outcome, apparently about 25,000 ballots statewide carried votes for president but not for the Senate race -- at least according to the machines that read them -- and these votes were greatly disproportionate in democratic parts of the state.
Larry Jacobs, a University of Minnesota political science professor, said the AP analysis of the dropoff between the two races creates a "zone of uncertainty" that favors Franken.
"It suggests there are about 10,000 votes in the largest Democratic counties that are potentially going to tilt in Franken's direction."