Where our numbers are coming from

Minnesota Public Radio News is using election recount numbers provided by the Minnesota Secretary of State's Office. They show a running total of the recounted ballots and the number of challenged ballots.

The top line number on our Web site is similar to the running count on Election Night, but at a much slower speed.

The Secretary of State updates the numbers each day at 8 p.m. The margin between the candidates changes depending on which precincts are reporting their results on any given day.

Some other news organizations are displaying a count that shows a much smaller margin between the two candidates. They're looking at the votes counted in each precinct, and comparing the totals to the original election total that had Sen. Norm Coleman ahead by 215 votes.

Both approaches are based on figures from the Secretary of State's office, and both have one big problem -- the challenged ballots are not included in the count. That makes it quite difficult to say with any precision the margin between the two candidates.

Elections experts tell us the outcome of the recount won't be known until all counties finish their hand counts of the ballots, and the State Canvassing Board rules on all the challenged ballots.

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