Vote fraud may have provided Dem majority for Obamacare
Allegations of vote fraud, they say, are little more than pretexts conjured up by Republicans to justify voter ID laws designed to suppress Democratic turnout.
But according to the authors of a new book about the 2008 race for a U.S. Senate seat for Minnesota, not only was there a lot of fraud but it almost certainly threw the election to the Democrat. In other words, fraud decided the winner of a critical race.
In the '08 race, Republican Norm Coleman ran against Democrat Al Franken. The vote was incredibly close: on the morning after the election Coleman led Franken by 725 votes out of 2.9 million.
Democratic strategists immediately challenged the results. After the first canvass, Coleman's lead dropped to 206 votes. Finally, after seven months of wrangling and litigation Franken was declared the winner by 312 votes.
During the fight over which ballots should count, a conservative group called Minnesota Majority began to look into claims of vote fraud. Comparing criminal records with voting rolls, the group identified 1,099 felons -- all ineligible to vote -- who had voted in the Franken-Coleman race.
Minnesota Majority took this information to prosecutors across the state, but curiously, most showed no interest in pursuing it, even though Minnesota law requires authorities to investigate such leads.
So far, the authors report, 177 people have been convicted -- not just accused, but convicted -- of illegally voting in the Senate race. Another 66 are awaiting trial. "The numbers aren't greater," the authors say, "because the standard for convicting someone of voter fraud in Minnesota is that they must have been both ineligible, and 'knowingly' voted unlawfully." The accused can get off by claiming not to have known they did anything wrong.
Still, that's a total of 243 people either convicted of voter fraud or awaiting trial in an election that was decided by 312 votes. With 1,099 examples identified by Minnesota Majority, and with evidence suggesting that felons, when they do vote, strongly favor Democrats, it's a reasonable bet that Franken was elected because of vote fraud.
And that's just the question of voting by felons. Minnesota Majority also found all sorts of other irregularities that cast further doubt on the "official" results.
This race was particularly important because Franken's alleged win gave Democrats the crucial 60th vote in favor of Obama's national health care proposal -- the exact number needed to shut off a Republican filibuster. If Coleman had kept his seat, Obamacare would not have become law.
Voter fraud matters. Yet Democrats across the country continue to downplay the importance of the issue. Last year, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, denounced "the gauzy accusation that voter fraud is somehow a problem, when over and over again it has been proven that you're more likely to get hit by lightning than you are to [be] a victim of voter fraud."Except when a guy elected by fraud turns out to be the deciding vote in congress that results in passage of a disaster like Obamacare. In that case we're all victims.
(Original in Washington Examiner; I've edited slightly.)