Election Law

Issues ››› Election Law
  • The NYT's woeful Minnesota recount reporting

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    The top of this article seems fine as the reporter outlines the extraordinarily close recount race between Al Franken and Norm Coleman. But boy, the piece completely falls apart as the Times' Christina Capecchi stuffs the second half of the dispatch with right-wing talk points presented by right-wing talking heads.

    *The article quotes Coleman's election attorney who accuses the Franken camp of vote-counting ""shenanigans," but requires the attorney to provide not proof/examples.

    *In addressing the fact that the Secretary of State overseeing the recount is a Democrat (last time we checked that was allowed), the Times reports that Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Katherine Kersten traced the official's "ties to liberal Democratic groups."

    The Times though, doesn't bother to note that Kersten is a right-winger who smeared Franken right before Election Day as a "slanderer of Christianity." She's hardly a source worth citing in the New York Times.

    *Speaking of dubious sources, the Times also quotes Sean Hannity who claims there's some "fishy business" unfolding in Minnesota. This has been the right-wing mantra all week: Dems are trying to "steal" the Minnesota election. The proof? There is none, which means there's absolutely no reason for the newspaper to be legitimize that kinds of GOP conspiracy talk.

    In total, the Times article quotes or references six Coleman supporters but just one Franken backer.

    The Franken/Coleman recount is going to be a lengthy process. Let's hope the Times can improve its coverage.

  • O'Reilly vows "to document every ACORN situation and any other voter fraud" but has yet to mention fraud complaints against YPM

    ››› ››› LILY YAN

    Fox News' Bill O'Reilly stated on The O'Reilly Factor that "we're going to document every ACORN situation and any other voter fraud," but according to a Media Matters search of Nexis, the program has yet "to document" the reported complaints against Young Political Majors, a group hired by the Republican Party to register voters.

  • What is voter fraud?

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    The relatively straight-forward question seems to be alluding lots or reporters this week. Especially ones employed by Rupert Murdoch.

    In a lengthy media analysis, the Brad Blog looks at how conservatives online are whipping themselves into a frenzy over a story that may be less than what it appears:

    Those who wish to believe in the hoax, however, attempt to link to article after article about allegations of voter fraud carried out by ACORN. And yet, the articles themselves


    if one bothers to actually read them

    reveal that either 1) They describe allegations and investigations brought by Republican agents, with little or no evidence of any wrong doing, and certainly no "voter fraud" 2) Where voter registration fraud has occurred it has been by rogue ACORN employees, originally reported to authorities by ACORN themselves (who are the actual victims of any such fraud by their employees), or 3) Smoke and mirrors are used to cloud the fact that not a single fraudulent vote has actually been cast by anyone.
  • AP, CNN report that Obama represented ACORN, but not that DOJ was also a plaintiff in the lawsuit

    ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI & LAUREN AUERBACH

    The AP and CNN reported that Sen. Barack Obama represented ACORN in a 1995 lawsuit against the state of Illinois but did not mention that the Justice Department was also a plaintiff in the case, along with the League of Women Voters of Illinois and the League of United Latin American Citizens. The lawsuit sought to require that Illinois implement federal law on voter registration.

  • Fox News' Kelly mocked ACORN for accurate statement about Florida registration law

    ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Fox News' Megyn Kelly mocked ACORN's statement that it was required under Florida law to submit a voter registration form filed under the name "Mickey Mouse" to the Orange County, Florida, board of elections. In fact, Florida law calls for entities withholding voter registration forms to face a fine of $1,000 for each registration they withhold.

  • Charlie Rose did not challenge Scalia's false claim that "the press unanimously" agreed that Bush won Florida in 2000

    ››› ››› RAPHAEL SCHWEBER-KOREN

    On his PBS program, Charlie Rose did not challenge Antonin Scalia's false assertion that "the press unanimously" found that, in Rose's words, George W. Bush "won that election in Florida." In fact, according to The Washington Post, data from a study conducted by the National Opinion Research Center found that under several different criteria for assessing a voter's intent, Al Gore would have received more votes than Bush after a statewide recount of all ballots "that were initially rejected by voting machines."

  • What you've been missing: NBC, CBS nightly news shows fail to report on McCain's campaign loan

    ››› ››› BRIAN LEVY

    NBC's Nightly News and the CBS Evening News have yet to cover Sen. John McCain's campaign loan, despite a February 29 post on the MSNBC.com blog First Read that stated: "We've noticed today the [Sen. John] McCain/FEC stories -- that McCain very well might have to abide by spending limits before the GOP convention -- are starting to roll in. But why is this only now starting to get more traction, compared with all the stories about [Sen. Barack] Obama waffling on his pledge to accept public funds in the general?"

  • Discussing FEC confirmations, Wash. Post omitted that Bush withdrew nomination of chairman who questioned McCain loan

    ››› ››› BRIAN LEVY

    In an article on five new FEC confirmations, The Washington Post did not note that President Bush withdrew the renomination of chairman David Mason, who has requested that Sen. John McCain assure the FEC he did not act improperly by signing a loan agreement that could have forced him to remain in the race -- even if he had no chance of winning -- in order to be eligible for public matching funds to repay the loan.

  • NY Times, ABCNews.com reported on McCain's loan, but not that its terms may mean McCain is breaking campaign finance laws

    ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Reporting on the $4 million loan Sen. John McCain's campaign obtained in November 2007, neither The New York Times nor ABCNews.com's Political Radar blog noted that the loan is at the center of a dispute between McCain's campaign and the FEC, whose chairman has cited the loan in taking the position that McCain cannot opt out of public financing in the primary without FEC approval.

  • Wash. Times' McCaslin misrepresented FEC spokesman, advisory opinions, to raise questions about Clinton's Elton John concert

    ››› ››› ADAM SHAH

    In a column about an Elton John concert on behalf of Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign, The Washington Times' John McCaslin questioned whether the concert violates federal election law and wrote that FEC spokesman Bob Biersack "said he doesn't know whether the Elton John performance would be considered unlawful by FEC standards." While McCaslin later updated his column, he did not note that, according to the Clinton campaign, Biersack said: "I did not intend to convey ... that there is anything unlawful" about the concert. McCaslin also falsely asserted that a 1981 FEC advisory opinion "prohibited a foreign national artist from donating his services in connection with fundraising for a U.S. Senate campaign."

  • AP, WSJ left out FEC chairman's statement that McCain cannot withdraw from public financing system without FEC consent

    ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    The Associated Press reported that Sen. John McCain "has decided not to accept the public matching funds," but that the Federal Election Commission "wants him to assure regulators that he did not use the promise of public money as collateral for [a] loan." The article did not mention that FEC Chairman David Mason has asserted that McCain cannot legally withdraw from the public finance system without FEC approval. Additionally, a Wall Street Journal article did not note that McCain may not be able to opt out of the public financing system.

  • Sacramento Bee uncritically reported GOP's claims about effects of CA ballot initiative

    ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    In reporting on a Republican-backed California ballot initiative that would award the state's electoral votes by congressional district, The Sacramento Bee stated that "Republicans behind the initiative said it would force presidential candidates to visit California more often and give more voters a voice in the presidential outcome." But the Bee did not note that there are only three congressional districts in California that Sen. John Kerry or President Bush carried by 5 percentage points or less during the 2004 presidential election; thus, if the initiative passed, campaigns would presumably have little incentive to "visit California more often," as the initiative's backers reportedly claimed. Moreover, California voters would have less influence on the outcome of elections, because voters would likely deliver fewer than the current 55 electoral votes to the winner.

  • LA Times article on CA ballot initiative omitted arguments against, ignored GOP affiliation of initiative's backers

    ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    The Los Angeles Times reported that supporters of a controversial Republican-backed California ballot initiative that would award the state's electoral votes by congressional district portray the proposal "as a way to make California's elections fair." But the article did not mention opponents' argument that the measure would not "make California's elections fair." Further, the article did not note that several of the key initiative supporters it named are prominent Republicans, or that the initiative was endorsed by the party's state convention.

  • NPR aired without challenging GOP misrepresentation of CA electoral college initiative's effect

    ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Reporting on a Republican-backed California ballot initiative that would award the state's electoral votes by congressional district, NPR correspondent Ina Jaffe aired an audio clip of Republican consultant Dave Gilliard, who asserted: "We want [presidential candidates] to come out here and actually campaign throughout California. We want them to go to the Central Valley, and Inland Empire, and the North Coast, and talk to Californians about what's important to California." In fact, California has only three congressional districts that Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) or President Bush carried by 5 percentage points or less during the 2004 election, and thus, if the initiative passed, campaigns would presumably have little incentive "to come out here and actually campaign." Further, Jaffe's report did not note one of the major arguments made in opposition to the California initiative -- that it reapportions the electoral votes of only California, rather than applying a nationwide standard for the distribution of electoral votes.