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Franken's lead now 49 votes

From NBC's Carrie Dann
A quick update from the Minnesota Senate recount: AP reports that Democrat Al Franken is starting  the last day of 2008 with a 49-vote lead over Norm Coleman. That's revised from a 50-vote lead yesterday, after the Secretary of State's office updated its numbers last night.

But the tussle between Coleman and Franken attorneys over rejected absentee ballots is set to continue into the New Year.  The two camps are locking horns over the size of the pile of improperly cast-aside ballots to be counted, with the Coleman team hoping to add over 600 more to about 1,350 currently designated by county officials. 

** UPDATE ** As we wrote Monday, the Coleman campaign has given the green light to about 750 of the 1,350 rejected absentee ballots designated by county officials as improperly discarded.  The remainder of those 1350, they say, should be up for additional review before being counted.  The Coleman team also argues that the additional 650 that they hope to add to the consideration pile would ensure county by county "uniformity" among all ballots formerly rejected. 

Skeptics of the tactic point out that the additional 650 ballots that Coleman would like to add come from counties that heavily supported the Republican in the November election.