Or so it seems:
A three-judge panel ruled that only 400 absentee ballots -- far fewer than Mr. Coleman had sought -- should be examined for possible counting. If the ruling stands, it could be devastating for Mr. Coleman, who trailed his Democratic challenger by a mere 225 votes out of some 2.9 million cast and had hoped that nearly 1,400 absentee ballots might be recounted.
After seven weeks of deliberations, the court said it will decide which of the 400 ballots would be counted in open court by April 7. But even if the results put Mr. Coleman further in the hole, as expected, he could fight on, before the Minnesota Supreme Court or perhaps in the federal courts. His lawyer said the senator had not given up.
The three-panel said it based its decision on "a complete and thorough review of the 1,717 exhibits and transcripts of testimony," and that it had made every effort to determine that the voters complied with Minnesota law.
"To be clear, not every absentee ballot identified in this order will ultimately be opened and counted," the panel wrote.
Nonetheless, the political terrain as well as simply mathematics appeared to give Mr. Franken a big advantage, and the lawyers for the two sides recognized that fact.