Sixty-four percent of the way through Minnesota's recount in the Senate race between Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken, the conservative remains ahead by 120 votes, about half his original lead. Unlike the hateful and anxious conflict over Florida's recount in 2000, this Minnesota recount is nothing more than a pleasure, with fun disputed ballots and two candidates willing to humiliate themselves to get any vote counted. Minnesota Public Radio has more disputed ballots for you to weigh in on, and while they can't top the classic Lizard People write-in vote, they demand your democratic attention:Challenged ballots in Florida smell like senior citizens, but challenged ballots in Minnesota are brisk, cold, and snappy. Things were looking good for Al Franken's chances of overcoming Coleman's tiny lead, but he needs more help to secure a victory. That's why every single controversial ballot is eliciting a challenge from both campaigns, no matter how small the question may be. Challenged ballots from Day 3 of counting don't display quite that same level of ingenuity as the genius of the Lizard People ballot, but it is amazing what each campaign will resort to arguing:
The Franken campaign decided to challenge this ballot, arguing that because the voter had made an X, that he wanted to rescind his vote for Coleman.
The Coleman campaign challenged this ballot, arguing that the voter was indicating a vote for Coleman.
Then there was this Anoka County voter's ballot, pulled out of a stack by the Republicans just because of the beauty of its verse:
You Need to/ Make Voting/ Easier to do/ This is/ Ridiculous/ enough with the/ Political Ads/ This is/ What Happens/ when you/ Bombard Me/ with them/ Al Franken and/ Norm Coleman/ Are So Annoying/ They're Repugnant/ From Now on/ Ill Give up/ My Right/ to vote/ if I got/ Beet down with/ Political Ads/ Advertise That/ Minnesota/ Id Rather/ Have/ Nick/ DiPalo/ For/ President/ Ha/ Ha/ Ha/ Ha/ Ha
Clearly not everyone is enjoying this protracted political process as much as we are. The intensity of the recount challenges has increased as the gap between the vote totals narrows: according to Nate Silver, the latest ballots are challenged by the Franken campaign at a rate of 7.5 out of every 10,000 ballots, and the Coleman campaign is questioning 7.2 out of every 10,000. As we knew all along, it's gonna be so close we can taste the bitter wisps of democracy on our tongues.