Continuing the conservative media's pattern of baselessly accusing progressives of using illegal means to win elections, Andrew Breitbart's website BigGovernment.com suggested that New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine's re-election campaign and its allies are planning to "rig" or "steal" the upcoming election. BigGovernment.com offered no evidence to support that claim, instead offering allegations including that "state democrats are paying for robo calls supporting Independent Chris Daggett" and citing "the sudden appearance of ACORN on the scene."
Breitbart's site offered no evidence to support suggestion Corzine is planning to "steal," "rig" election
BigGovernment purported to provide "evidence" that "the fix is in." A November 1 BigGovernment post -- headlined "Will Corzine Allies Steal the Election in New Jersey? ACORN, Dirty Tricks and Absentee Ballot Fraud" -- purported to document that "the fix is in" for the New Jersey gubernatorial race and that "evidence is building that Corzine's campaign may see its only salvation is in rigging the election."
First "sign" of "rigging": BigGovernment alleged that "state democrats are paying for robo calls supporting Independent Chris Daggett." From the post:
The first sign is a straight-up dirty trick. Daggett's run for office is certainly convenient for Corzine, as he will help split any anti-Corzine vote. And, as a Corzine political appointee, one wonders if his candidacy wasn't a set up to begin with. Now, in the final days of the campaign, it appears state democrats are paying for robo calls supporting Independent Chris Daggett. First reported here, the robo calls attack Christie (but not Corzine) and promote Daggett. At the end of the call, it is mentioned that the calls are paid for by a "project of the NJSDC." No idea what that acronym stands for, but New Jersey State Democratic Committee, isn't too big of a stretch. More interesting is the fact that the return number on the calls is the same number that was used to promote Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley's election in closing days of the 2006 race. [BigGovernment.com, 11/1/09]
BigGovernment offered no explanation for how these alleged activities would constitute or lead to "steal[ing]" or "rigging" the election.
Second "sign" of "rigging": ACORN is "on the scene." From the post:
More telling that the fix is in, however, is the sudden appearance of ACORN on the scene. Not by name, mind you, as their reputation is so tarnished that even New Jersey Democrats don't want to be associated with them. No, in New Jersey ACORN sought cover behind its big brother, SEIU, specifically SEIU Local 32BJ.
The political director for the SEIU local is Peter Colavito. Just last year, he was ACORN's political director in New York, working directly under Bertha Lewis, ACORN's CEO and co-chair of ACORN-backed Working Families Party. He was, and remains, a top official and board member of the Working Families Party in New York. In fact, his wife is currently an employee of the Working Families Party. Corzine has made much of his endorsement by the SEIU local, failing to mention the union's deep ties to both ACORN and its Working Families Party in New York.
These ties are starting to appear, however. GOP officials recently received a phone tip from a hospital in Newark, reporting that people in ACORN t-shirts were in the facility signing up and collecting absentee ballots. New Jersey law allows anyone to take up to 10 absentee ballots at a time. The tipster reported seeing individuals in the ACORN shirts entering the hospital with blank absentee ballots and leaving with completed ballots.
In citing the "appearance of ACORN" and "its big brother, SEIU" as evidence that "the fix is in" with regard to the election, BigGovernment offered no allegation of illegality or impropriety on the part of either the community organizing group Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) or the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Media Matters for America has documented a pattern in which conservatives consistently scapegoat ACORN, often by employing falsehoods or misrepresentations.
Third "sign" of "rigging": Anonymous "reports" that "voters are discovering that absentee ballots have already been submitted under their name." From the post:
There are reports out of Camden, New Jersey that voters are discovering that absentee ballots have already been submitted under their name. They did not authorize these ballots. Early reports suggested that the number of absentee ballots 'requested' in Camden city is higher than in any previous election. This will no doubt spark confusion on election day.
BigGovernment offered no evidence that New Jersey voters had in fact discovered absentee ballots submitted in their names, that they actually had not authorized those ballots, that such instances are unusual, or that the Conrzine campaign or its allies are in any way involved.
Fourth "sign" of "rigging": Distortion of reported Democratic request for treatment of absentee ballots. From the post:
Possibly anticipating this confusion, the state Democratic Committee recently sent a letter to the Secretary of State, arguing that any absentee ballot that is rejected should still be counted as a "provisional" vote. The letter complained that almost 3,000 absentee ballots had already been rejected "solely on the basis of a comparison of their signature to the signature on record." Solely? If the signature of the voter doesn't match the signature on the ballot, is there really a reason to look at anything else? The letter from the state Democrats suggests that election officials should simply verify that the address on the absentee ballot matches the address on record. Right, and my bank should go ahead and cash any suspicious check as long as the address on the check matches my home address.
BigGovernment's claim appears to be a distortion of National Review Online contributor Jim Geraghty's October 29 report that the New Jersey Democratic Party had asked the state to provide provisional ballots for voters whose signature on absentee ballot request forms do not match the signature on their state voter registration forms. The post offers no evidence as to how this request constitutes evidence of an attempt to "rig" the election, or even that the rejected absentee ballot requests were not actually submitted by the persons listed. According to Glenn Beck, who obtained Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund's latest column prior to publication, Fund cites the same New Jersey Democratic Party request as evidence that "absentee ballot fraud has become a serious concern" in the race in his forthcoming column.
BigGovernment.com post written by "anonymous sources in the halls of power." The author of the post is listed as "Capitol Confidential," BigGovernment's pseudonym for "anonymous sources in the halls of power at the federal, state, and local levels"; the site claims to "double-check their stories and provide them the cloak they need to reveal the truth."
BigGovernment promises to "document any instances of voter fraud in New Jersey"
Breitbart site partnering with other right-wing site to "shine the critical light" on "voter fraud." An editor's note to the Capitol Confidential post reads:
Big Government will be working closely on election day with Election Journal and its army of citizen journalists and videographers to document any instances of voter fraud in New Jersey. We welcome the help of readers in New Jersey. If you would like to volunteer to help maintain the integrity of the democratic process, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can use this same email to report any voting irregularities you witness on Tuesday. Also, please send in any of your own documentary video of problems at polling places. Big Media may ignore stories of voter fraud, but together we can shine the critical light on it.
Election Journal is conservative website focusing on "voter fraud." According to its website, "Electionjournal.org is an online community dedicated to raising public awareness of vote fraud and election irregularities. If an election is worth winning, then there is someone willing to steal it. We report it." The site was founded by Mike Roman, a "veteran political consultant" and BigGovernment.com contributor.
BigGovernment's baseless charges of election fraud part of conservative media pattern
Media hyped conservatives' baseless allegations of voter fraud in 2008 elections. Media Matters for America has extensively documented that numerous media outlets and conservative media figures baselessly accused or highlighted allegations that progressive groups committed voter fraud during the 2008 elections, in particular scapegoating ACORN after the group submitted allegedly false or duplicate voter registration applications. But many reports ignored the fact that the statutes of most of the states in question require third parties registering prospective voters to submit all registration forms they receive, and that actual instances of illegal votes being cast as a result of registration fraud are extremely rare.
Conservative media attempted to discredit Franken victory by invoking ACORN, fraud. Conservative media figures have repeatedly promoted baseless claims of fraud in the Minnesota Senate race and claimed that there was a lack of impartiality in the recount process to accuse Sen. Al Franken (D) of "stealing" the election, and have raised the bogeyman of ACORN to baselessly cast doubt on his victory months after he took office. However, in its unanimous 5-0 ruling, the Minnesota Supreme Court stated that "[n]o claim of fraud in the election or during the recount was made by either party" and that "Coleman's counsel confirmed at oral argument that Coleman makes no claim of fraud on the part of either voters or election officials."