WASHINGTON – Last week the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity requested voter rolls from each state to investigate potential voter fraud. Now Minnesota Sen. Al Franken is speaking out against the commission.
In a series of tweets, Franken lashed out at President Donald Trump’s “absurd request” for an investigation into potential voter fraud in the 2016 presidential election. Franken did not mince words, saying the president was “perpetuating false claims.” Franken contends the investigation is an attempt to divert attention from “getting to the bottom” of potential Russian interference in the election.
“That’s beyond alarming. President Donald Trump’s commission furthers a baseless conspiracy theory about voter fraud,” Franken wrote.
Franken ended his Twitter rant saying he is “relieved” Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon denied the commission’s request for election data. Simon, like Franken, believes the commission is a distraction.
“I have serious doubts about the commission’s credibility and trustworthiness. It’s two co-chairs have publicly backed President Trump’s false and irresponsible claim that millions of ineligible votes were cast in the last election,” Simon said in a statement. “The commission seems to be distracting from the most serious challenge to the integrity of our election system: The threat of cyber-attacks by outside forces, including foreign governments, who seek to disrupt and undermine our elections.”
Franken’s own history has been tainted by potential election fraud. After a long recount and legal battle, Franken was declared the winner of the 2008 U.S. Senate race, defeating the incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman by 312 votes.
Originally on election night, Coleman led Franken by 725 votes. However, before an official recount even began, vote totals began to change in favor of Franken. Minneapolis’ director of elections found an envelope of ballots in her car which had not been counted. In Two Harbors, election officials claimed to have miscommunicated 246 votes. The large number of errors left many scratching heads, especially given the lack of errors in other contests in the same precinct. Only Franken’s race had any recorded changes. Franken picked up another 100 votes from ballot errors in Partridge Township and Mountain Iron.
Concerns over the legitimacy of the 2008 Senate race continued even after Franken was deemed victorious. In 2010, Minnesota Majority, a watchdog group, called attention to convicted felons voting in the tight Senate race. The revelations made national headlines when then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty said in a Fox News appearance that there was “credible evidence” that ineligible felons tipped the election towards Franken. Since then, the Minnesota Voters Alliance has compiled a list of 941 ineligible convicted felons who voted in the 2008 election.
Franken has dismissed all claims of voter fraud in his Senate election.