Or wishful thinking by the Minneapolis Star Tribune?
The day’s other news — which Franken’s campaign quickly described as a “breakthrough” — came when Ritchie’s office asked local election officials to examine an estimated 12,000 rejected absentee ballots and determine whether their rejection fell under one of four reasons for rejection defined in state law. The Secretary of State’s office asked that ballots that were rejected for something other than the four legal reasons be placed into a so-called “fifth category.”
The fifth category, Ritchie’s office said, could also include absentee ballots rejected for reasons that were “not based on factual information.”
Ritchie’s office, while stressing that the ballots be examined but not counted, asked that the task be completed by Dec. 18.
The move appeared to give at least some new life to the Franken campaign’s longstanding effort to add to the recount what it estimates are as many as 1,000 improperly rejected absentee ballots.
The Strib headline says: “Pendulum swings to Franken.” But Ed Morrissey says it’s no breakthrough:
Ritchie anticipates the challenge Franken will file in the court, and he’s assuming (and hoping) that Franken will win some sort of review of rejected absentee ballots. Ritchie’s order gives the county boards a head start on reviewing the ballots and verifying that they were statutorily rejected. If not, then the fifth pile count will give some idea of the scope of the issue on which Franken will argue. It doesn’t actually change anything, and in fact may demonstrate that the problem is so small that it will have little effect on the election.
I hope Ed’s right.