Fox News' Baier touted ballot challenge by "dogged" Franken campaign, ignored similar ballot challenges by Coleman campaign

››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

Discussing the recount in the Minnesota Senate race between Al Franken and Sen. Norm Coleman, Fox News' Bret Baier asserted that the Franken campaign has been "dogged" in challenging questionable ballots and then aired a photograph of a ballot challenged by Franken, stating: "Franken is challenging this ... ballot, although the bubble beside Coleman's name appears to be clearly marked." However, Baier did not note or display any of the published examples of ballots that the Coleman campaign has challenged which "appear[] to be clearly marked" for Franken or another candidate besides Coleman.

During the November 21 edition of Fox News' Special Report, while discussing the recount in the Minnesota Senate race between Democratic candidate Al Franken and incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman, guest host Bret Baier asserted that "[b]oth candidates have challenged questionable ballots, but the Minnesota Star Tribune has revealed just how dogged the Franken campaign has been." Baier then stated that "Franken is challenging this Plymouth City ballot, although the bubble beside Coleman's name appears to be clearly marked," and aired a photograph of the ballot in question. However, Baier did not note or display any of the published examples of ballots that the Coleman campaign has challenged which "appear[] to be clearly marked" for Franken or another candidate besides Coleman.

A Minnesota Public Radio article, originally published November 19 and updated November 21, provided some examples of ballots that the Coleman campaign has challenged:

The Coleman campaign challenged this ballot [on November 19], arguing the voter didn't intend to vote for Franken, because of the small dot inside the bubble next to Dean Barkley's name.

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[...]

The Coleman campaign kept this ballot from going in the 'Other' pile. They argued that while the voter filled in the bubble next to Dean Barkley, the voter had intended to vote for Coleman because of the small dot inside Coleman's bubble.

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Additionally, a November 21 Minnesota Independent article -- posted hours before Special Report aired -- reported:

Al Franken's campaign believes it's spotted a pattern in their opponent's ballot challenges. "And that pattern is that if you vote for John McCain, it is inconceivable - inconceivable - that you didn't also intend to vote for Norm Coleman," said Marc Elias, the Franken team's lead recount attorney, wielding a stack of 10 challenged ballots at a press conference today. "I think it's clear now, at least in some instances, there are challenges being lodged that are clearly frivolous."

The Franken campaign released the 10 examples Elias referenced to the media at least several hours prior to the November 21 edition of Special Report. The list included the following ballots which have been challenged by the Coleman campaign:

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In asserting that the Franken campaign has been "dogged" in challenging ballots, Baier cited the following example:

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The Star Tribune reported of that ballot in a November 19 blog post that the "bubble beside Norm Coleman's name appeared to have both an X and a squiggle in it, but the Al Franken campaign wants the state Canvassing Board to rule on whether it should count. That's the only challenge in the special envelope in Plymouth so far, according to Sandy Engdahl, the city clerk and the official running the city recount." The Drudge Report linked to the Star Tribune post on November 20 with the headline, "DRAMA: Franken is Challenging This Ballot . . ."

A November 22 St. Paul Pioneer Press article reported that as of November 21, there were "1,525 challenged ballots ... Franken has challenged 778 ballots, while Coleman has challenged 747. Forty percent of the state's ballots remain to be tallied." CNN.com reported on November 24 that the Minnesota Secretary of State's office "reports nearly 2,000 ballots have been challenged so far, with 948 questioned by Coleman's camp and 945 by Franken's."

From the November 21 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume:

BAIER: As we told you earlier, Democrat Al Franken has closed the gap even further in his Senate race with incumbent Republican Norm Coleman of Minnesota. Coleman's lead has dwindled from more than 700 the day after the election to just 129. Both candidates have challenged questionable ballots, but the Minnesota Star Tribune has revealed just how dogged the Franken campaign has been.

Franken is challenging this Plymouth City ballot, although the bubble beside Coleman's name appears to be clearly marked. The Franken campaign wants the State Canvassing Board to rule on whether it should count.

The board will meet December 16th to rule on such challenges, and if this is an example, there could be many, many more.

Posted In
Elections, Voting Rights & Issues
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Bret Baier
Show/Publication
Special Report with Brit Hume
Stories/Interests
Propaganda/Noise Machine
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