In the RNC’s latest fundraising appeal, a website called nomorefrankens.com, the group makes a number of claims about the contested 2008 Minnesota Senate race between Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.). Now, someone who was there for nearly every minute of it — Jay Weiner, a journalist for MinnPost.com and author of a new book about the recount — has taken the time to fact check the RNC’s claims:
- “In 2008, Norm Coleman was ahead on Election Night by over 700 votes.”
That’s true, but, as with all elections, late arriving ballots and math errors always change Election Night tallies. Only in close elections are we aware of such shaking out of ballot tallies. When the official recount began, Coleman led by 215.
- “Soon, additional ballots were discovered, over 300 of which should have been disqualified as they appear to be have been cast by convicted felons.”
That’s not true. Additional ballots weren’t “discovered” anywhere. And where does the “300″ number of convicted felons come from? Do Democrats only win close elections by fraud? That’s the implication.
- “Yet, Franken was declared the winner by 225 votes out of nearly 2.5 million cast.”
Off a bit. He won by 312 with more than 2.9 million cast.
As for the convicted felons claim, Weiner explains that while it’s not without any merit, it’s most likely overblown. It originates from an allegation made by a conservative group called Minnesota Majority, which recently alleged that thousands of felons cast ballots in the 2008 election:
Not so, said the county prosecutors who examined the Minnesota Majority’s lists. So far, in the state’s largest counties, which include Minneapolis and St. Paul, a total of about 80 felons who are still on probation and who are barred from voting in Minnesota, have been charged. Not all have been convicted. Across the state, there are handfuls more, it seems, not hundreds.
Franken won by 312 votes. There’s no indication there were anywhere near that many who may have registered or voted illegally. Plus, what makes the Republicans think felons only vote for Democrats? In the first such case revealed about the 2008 election, the illegal voter admitted to casting his vote for Coleman.