The possible, perhaps, impending victory of Al Franken to the Senate has sent GOP officials into a paranoid tizzy.
In an "urgent message" to supporters, the Republican National Lawyer Association accuses Franken and his "liberal allies" of "working feverishingly [sic] to steal the Minnesota Senate election."
"As you may know, the precinct recount phase of the Minnesota Senate race was won by Sen. Norm Coleman on Election Day," reads the petition, signed by the group's executive director, Michael Thielen. "But Al Franken still won't concede. Instead, Franken raised millions of dollars from liberals in New York and Hollywood to fight a "legal" battle to undo the will of the voters. He even got the Minnesota Supreme Court to order canvassing boards to consider about 1600 previously rejected and questionable ballots. Now, Republican Norm Coleman has until December 31st to fight against Franken's liberal legal team to keep his Senate seat. RNLA and Norm Coleman are fighting for every vote -- literally!"
From there, the RNLA asks readers to donate money so that it can uphold the sanctity of the Minnesota election and prevent Franken from "stealing" the Senate seat.
For those following the recount closely, the letter is filled with a variety of obvious misinterpretations and inaccuracies. For instance, the RNLA gives the impression that during the canvassing process, officials "found errors favoring Franken so incredibly statistically improbable that statisticians are questioning the officials in these counties." It's not clear which statisticians the RNLA is referring to. But a study done by a Dartmouth professor actually predicted the very gains made by Franken.
RNLA then says that "during the recount an Election Official explained an error that resulted in Franken losing votes occurred when her precinct double-counted some votes on election night. But after pressure from Democrats made the official change her story the [Secretary of State] Mark Ritchie led Canvassing Board decided for that precinct only the recount did not count and would instead use the more favorable to Franken Election Day total."
In all likelihood the instance they are referring to involved the loss of a very specific envelope of ballots in a highly Democratic district. At first officials assumed they had simply counted those ballots twice on Election Day and could not match that vote total during the recount. Later, however, it became clear that ballots had been misplaced. And when they couldn't be relocated the state decided, as is permitted by law, to simply use the Election Day results and forgo the recount of that district.
The funniest bit, however, comes at the end of RNLA letter, in which the group makes a plea to help Coleman match the money Franken has raised for their "legal battle."
"Since election day when it was clear Norm Coleman had won, Al Franken raised millions of dollars to continue his legal battle. We need to do the same for Norm Coleman."
The Minnesota Republican, of course, is mired in an ethics scandal that could threaten his Senate seat should he win reelection. Franken is just lawyering up for the recount.
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