GOP Crying Wolf on Voter Fraud?

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Despite conservative fear-mongering that illegitimate voters would steal the midterms, there’s been little, if any, evidence has surfaced to support these claims. But some GOPers won’t to give up the ghost. Dave Weigel points out that Ed Martin, Republican candidate in Missouri’s 3rd district, has refused to concede to his opponent Democratic Rep. Russ Carnahan despite having lost by a significant 4,418 vote margin. Instead, Martin insists that electoral fraud messed with the results. From the St. Louis Beacon:

Among other things, Martin has alleged irregularities in the city’s votes and in the hiring of a security firm at the city Election Board headquarters to help out on Election Day. Martin particularly has raised questions about the final bloc of city votes that went heavily for Carnahan.

On Wednesday, a group of Martin allies picketed outside the downtown Election Board headquarters, shouting that vote fraud had been committed.

Local and state Republican officials have declined to back Martin’s claims of voter fraud, urging him to concede in the long-Democratic district. As the Beacon notes, even the St. Louis Tea Party admits “that there appears to be ‘no smoking gun’ that the group can immediately target as a culprit in Martin’s narrow loss.”

But given the hysteria surrounding voter fraud on the right—amped up by the tea parties and legitimized by the GOP—it’s not surprising that Republicans would use voter fraud as an excuse for a close loss. Given the degree of fear-mongering, I’m surprised that there haven’t been more allegations of fraud since Election Day. In Nevada, for instance, Sharron Angle had claimed that Harry Reid wanted “to steal this election” and accused him of buying off union votes in the final stretch of the race. But such accusations almost immediately evaporated after she lost to Reid, and even Fox News cancelled a segment about voter fraud in Nevada that it had originally planned to air.

If such dirty tricks had actually happened in Nevada or elsewhere, you’d expect that the tea party right would be up in arms about the results. But instead, the deafening silence suggests that there wasn’t much there in the first place. It’s not surprising, then, that Missouri Republicans want Martin to shut up and concede that he lost already. In the build up to the election, Republicans were deftly able to amplify voter fraud allegations to whip their base into a frenzy. But after the fact, when it’s clear that few such shenanigans actually took place, candidates like Martin make it appear that the right was just crying wolf in the first place.

*Update: Martin finally conceded the election to Carnahan on Monday morning but continues to allege there was “misconduct by the chair of the St. Louis City Board of Elections,” claiming that there were widespread “irregularities” and claiming the Board “refused to take responsibility for compelling local boards of election to purge voter rolls of ineligible registrants.” Martin promises that he “will continue to seek to highlight the importance of protecting our voting system and will ask you to assist me in this effort.”

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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