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Franken/Coleman coming down to absentee ballots

The Strib:

And the sheer volume of absentee ballots this year has changed the conventional wisdom on what role they could play.

More than 288,000 Minnesotans cast absentee ballots this year -- nearly one voter in 10 -- essentially turning the state's absentee system into a type of early voting.

Once an alternative for the infirm, affluent snowbirds and travelers, absentee balloting this year became a key element of Democratic voter turnout strategy.

"We had lines out the door for absentee voting," said Ramsey County Elections Manager Joe Mansky. "The lines had blacks, whites, Hispanics, immigrants, young, old -- everything," Mansky said.

With increased numbers come increased errors, both by voters and administrators, said elections expert Robert Stein, a political science professor at Rice University, in Texas.

A Star Tribune analysis of rejected absentee ballot lists collected from 25 of the state's 87 counties shows that 2,066 would-be absentee voters were excluded from initial vote tallies in just those counties.

And Coleman's margin is 180....

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