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Franken and Coleman withdraw some ballot challenges

ST. PAUL - The number of withdrawn ballot challenges in Minnesota's U.S. Senate race doubled today.

Norm Coleman's campaign said this morning it is dropping 650 of its ballot challenges, following Al Franken's decision Wednesday to drop 633 of its ballot challenges.

As of Wednesday night, the campaigns challenged a total of 6,326 ballots during the recount of 2.9 million votes, the secretary of state's office reported.

The state Canvassing Board, which must review any challenged ballots after the recount is complete, urged the campaigns to withdraw some of their challenges. Each campaign has accused the other of making frivolous challenges.

Coleman's staff said the senator ordered the withdrawal.

"I received a communication from Sen. Coleman that made it very clear that he wanted us to respond to this gesture on the part of the Franken committee and to accelerate this process," Coleman recount attorney Fritz Knaak said this morning.

That came after Knaak said Wednesday the campaign would wait until the recount was complete to withdraw any challenges.