Newsmax cites Franken-Coleman race to baselessly hype fears of a "stolen election" in MA

››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

In a January 18 Newsmax.com article, managing editor David A. Patten raises the prospect of a "stolen election" in the race for Massachusetts' open Senate seat by citing "fears that a close election could trigger the same type of recount process that saw former GOP Sen. Norm Coleman's lead over then-challenger Al Franken steadily evaporate in Minnesota." However, the Minnesota Supreme Court stated that "[n]o claim of fraud in the election or during the recount was made by either" Franken or Coleman, and experts reportedly said that there was a "lack of crookedness in" Minnesota that debunks claims that the Minnesota election was stolen.

Newsmax: Franken-Coleman shows risk of "stolen election" in MA

In the article, Patten repeatedly raises the possibility that the election between Democrat Martha Coakley and Republican Scott Brown would be "stolen" by Democrats given the race between Franken and then-Sen. Norm Coleman. From the article, headlined "Republican Fears of Stolen Election Grow in Massachusetts":

The specter of Minnesota's bitterly contested election contest between Al Franken and Norm Coleman now hangs over Tuesday's special election in Massachusetts, with Republicans and conservative pundits warning that anything less than a clear-cut victory for GOP challenger Scott Brown over Democrat Martha Coakley risks a "stolen election."

Brown appears to be surging. Increasingly desperate in the campaign's waning days to save their supermajority in Congress, Democrats are doing everything they possibly can to keep the seat.

Several Obama advisers have told Democratic Party officials in recent days that the administration expects Coakley is likely to lose the election Tuesday, CNN White House correspondent Ed Henry reported.

President Obama's last-minute visit on Coakley's behalf Sunday coincided with a flurry of attack ads against Brown. The ads' accusations are so flagrant that Brown's campaign has announced it plans legal action.

John Fund, the election expert, author, and Wall Street Journal online commentator, told Newsmax that Brown probably has to win by at least 20,000 votes to avoid "the margin of litigation."

Republicans are crowding the blogosphere with fears that a close election could trigger the same type of recount process that saw former GOP Sen. Norm Coleman's lead over then-challenger Al Franken steadily evaporate in Minnesota.

"Actual vote stealing will occur" on Tuesday, Fund told Newsmax. But he expects it will be reduced "because ACORN is discredited and adrift and there are serious anti-fraud efforts being mounted."

[...]

"They're very much aware of how to stuff ballot boxes," [NewsBusters.org associate editor Noel] Sheppard said. "They obviously know how to play the game. They obviously stole the Franken seat several months ago."

"One of the scary things" about the election is that getting the most votes may not be enough to win the race, Sheppard said.

"I think Brown's going to have to win by a good 3 percent of the vote, or else we're getting into a Franken-type situation, and we'll be recounting votes for God knows how long. And obviously that benefits the Democrats," he told Newsmax.

As of 5:30pm E.T. on January 18, Newsmax's "stolen election" claim is promoted at the top of its homepage:

Coleman challenged vote count but did not make a single allegation of vote fraud

Minnesota Supreme Court stated that Coleman did not make any allegations of vote fraud. In its decision rejecting Coleman's appeal of the decision declaring Franken the winner of the 2008 Minnesota Senate race, 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."

Experts cite "lack of crookedness in the [Minnesota] election"

St. Paul Pioneer Press: Experts said there was a "lack of crookedness in the election." The Pioneer Press reported in a June 29, 2009, article (from the Nexis database): "Experts said the lack of crookedness in the election, as well as a commitment to the law and not politics, allowed the five state high court justices to explore the key issues in depth." The Pioneer Press added: "Rick Hasen, an election law professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, said the court's ruling Tuesday was so thorough that it also ruled out the possibility that either candidate -- or their lawyers -- could be accused of stealing the election."

Pioneer Press: "no corruption charges to undermine the fundamental fairness, transparency and accuracy of Minnesota's election system." The Pioneer Press wrote in a September 25, 2009, article that there were "no corruption charges to undermine the fundamental fairness, transparency and accuracy of Minnesota's election system -- from the common-folk election judges to the esteemed Supreme Court justices -- and no new evidence to show that Coleman had in fact won."

MN reporter Black: "lack of any evidence of fraud, or even attempted fraud." In a September 30, 2009, post on his MinnPost.com blog, former Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter Eric Black wrote: "As I've written before, the lack of any evidence of fraud, or even attempted fraud, in this excruciatingly close, highly scrutinized election is something of which Minnesota should be proud."

Election law professor Foley: "election was about as far from 'stolen' as any extraordinarily close and intensely disputed election could be." On July 1, 2009, Ohio State University election law professor Edward B. Foley responded to claims that the Coleman-Franken election was stolen, writing: "this election was about as far from 'stolen' as any extraordinarily close and intensely disputed election could be--and to use that term in this context is to rob it of appropriate meaning for those situations in which election officials abuse their power to throw an election for a preferred candidate, thereby robbing an opponent of a rightful victory."

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David A. Patten
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