“Who’s Counting?” and the 2012 Presidential Contest

By Dave Andrusko

As a native Minnesotan transplanted to Virginia, in 2008 I watched with growing horror the prospect that pro-abortion Democrat Al Franken would emerge from a recount having (at least in theory) defeated pro-life incumbent Minnesota Republican Senator Norm Coleman.

I mention this painful memory because of a new book out by The Wall Street Journal’s John Fund and former Bush Justice Department official Hans von Spakovsky, “Who’s Counting?” It is now on my ever- growing list of books to read, courtesy of the inherent drama of a contest in which Coleman originally won by 725 votes (out of 2.9 million cast) and because of a review of “Who’s Counting?” by the always interesting and insightful Byron York.

Just two quick thoughts (you can read York’s review at http://washingtonexaminer.com/york-when-1099-felons-vote-in-race-won-by-312-ballots/article/2504163).

First, Franken and his Democratic allies lawyered up, dispatching what York correctly call  “an army of lawyers to challenge the results.” After months of bitter and contentious litigation, Franken was declared the winner by 312 votes.

A conservative group, York explains, “identified 1,099 felons — all ineligible to vote — who had voted in the Franken-Coleman race.” Already 177 have been convicted of voting fraudulently, with another 66 awaiting trial. York then quotes from the book

“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.

The authors “also found all sorts of other irregularities that cast further doubt on the Senate results,” York writes.

Second, there is every reason to believe the presidential contest will be decided by the smallest of margins. “When voters are disenfranchised by the counting of improperly cast ballots or outright fraud, their civil rights are violated just as surely as if they were prevented from voting,” write Fund and von Spakovsky. “The integrity of the ballot box is just as important to the credibility of elections as access to it.”

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