Hannity ignored Coleman ballot challenges to accuse Franken of "stealing an election"

››› ››› MATTHEW BIEDLINGMAIER

On Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity asserted that Al Franken is "trying to steal the election" because the Franken campaign "has been trying to challenge ballots that are clearly for Norm Coleman." Hannity subsequently aired several examples of ballots contested by Franken. However, Hannity did not display any of the published examples of ballots that the Coleman campaign has challenged that appear to be marked for Franken or another candidate besides Coleman.

On the December 1 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, co-host Sean Hannity asserted that in the Minnesota Senate recount, challenger Al Franken (D) "has been trying to challenge ballots that are clearly for [incumbent Sen.] Norm Coleman [R]," adding, "That is stealing an election." Subsequently, Hannity aired several examples of ballots that the Franken campaign has contested and said to former Rep. John Kasich (R-OH): "I'm gonna put up on the screen -- and I want Al Franken to sue me, because for him to challenge these ballots that are so clearly, you know, for Norm Coleman, I think it shows that he's trying to steal the election." However, Hannity did not display any of the published examples of ballots that the Coleman campaign has challenged that appear to be marked for Franken or another candidate besides Coleman.

Later, former Hillary Clinton campaign adviser Kiki McLean said to Hannity: "Sean, I'd like to know that you actually spent the time looking at the ballots that Norm Coleman has tried to have dismissed. Have you?" She also said: "My question to you is have you reviewed all the ballots that Norm Coleman has tried to throw out?" Hannity replied: "I've reviewed a number of them, but I don't see any that are this obvious." But Hannity again did not show his viewers any of the ballots Coleman has challenged.

As Media Matters for America has noted, a Minnesota Public Radio article, originally published November 19, provided some examples of ballots that the Coleman campaign has challenged along with reporting on the reason for the challenge:

The Coleman campaign challenged this ballot [on November 19], arguing the voter didn't intend to vote for Franken, because of the small dot inside the bubble next to Dean Barkley's name.

Ballot 1

[...]

The Coleman campaign kept this ballot from going in the 'Other' pile. They argued that while the voter filled in the bubble next to Dean Barkley, the voter had intended to vote for Coleman because of the small dot inside Coleman's bubble.

Ballot 2

Minnesota Public Radio has updated the article. As of December 1, the following ballots (and associated reported reasons for the challenges) are among those that the article provides:

The Coleman campaign challenged this ballot from Hopkins, saying the voter's intent was not clear. The voter put an "X" next to some candidates' names in some races, while filling in the oval in other races. (Secretary of State's Office)

Ballot 3

[full ballot available here]

[...]

The Coleman campaign challenged this Maple Grove ballot, saying the voter's intent was not clear. The voter circled the word "Democratic" beneath Al Franken's name and did the same in the presidential race beneath "Barack Obama and Joe Biden". (Secretary of State's Office)

Ballot 4

[full ballot available here]

[...]

The Coleman campaign challenged this ballot from Plymouth, saying the voter's ballot was "not filled out completely." The voter marked an oval to the right of the candidates' names instead of marking inside the oval outline to the left. (Secretary of State's Office)

Ballot 5

[full ballot available here]

The Franken campaign has also released examples of ballots challenged by the Coleman campaign, which include the following:

Ballot 6
Ballot 7
Ballot 8
Ballot 9
Ballot 10
Ballot 11

According to the office of the Minnesota secretary of state, as of December 1, 2008, the Coleman campaign has challenged more ballots than has the Franken campaign, with the Coleman campaign challenging 3,067 ballots, and the Franken campaign challenging 2,876 ballots.

As Media Matters has documented, Hannity asserted on November 24, "I have all of these different ballots that he's questioning that clearly are Norm Coleman ballots, clearly, and he's questioning them because he's trying to litigate his way into the Senate seat." But, as on December 1, Hannity did not note that Coleman is challenging ballots that appear to be marked for Franken.

From the December 1 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:

HANNITY: All right, let's talk about the danger, John Kasich, even though, if -- if Al Franken -- and we'll get into this in the next segment. I think Al Franken's been trying to challenge ballots that are clearly for Norm Coleman. That is stealing an election, and we'll get to that in the next segment.

[...]

HANNITY: Well, the recount is almost over, and with Republican incumbent Norm Coleman still in the lead, it looks increasingly difficult for the Democratic challenger, Al Franken, to win without some funny business. Last week the state canvassing board denied a request by the not-so-funny former funnyman to reconsider rejected absentee ballots. Franken, the failed radio host, needs to win at least 6 percent of his contested ballots, and with election officials saying it doesn't look likely, it seems the Minnesota mess might end up in court or the U.S. Senate. We continue now with our panel.

John Kasich, I'm gonna put up on the screen -- and I want Al Franken to sue me, because for him to challenge these ballots that are so clearly, you know, for Norm Coleman, I think it shows that he's trying to steal the election.

Look at that one right there. Norm Coleman, colored in full. You know, look at the ones -- Norm Coleman, you know, colored in full there. It's obvious -- here it is. Al Franken crossed out. It seems to me that, in many ways, I think that, you know, if you don't have the honor, integrity, and decency, should the United States Senate get involved? Should the courts get involved further?

KASICH: No, I think you've gotta let Minnesota law determine the way they count it, Sean, because if you don't let the law determine what you do here, it's like going out in the woods without a compass. It's easy to get lost.

And it -- it would be unbelievable if the United States Senate would refuse to seat Norm Coleman if -- if he ends up winning this recount, which it appears he will. I would predict the United States Senate will keep hands off, because, boy, you talk about -- you talk about toxicity. That would be a disaster if they were to get involved. So, what I think will happen is, ultimately, Minnesota law will be the law of the land, and -- and we'll have a fair recount.

HANNITY: And Kiki, do you want the U.S. Senate to get involved?

KIKI McLEAN (former Hillary Clinton campaign adviser): You know what? I think that what we ought to do is make sure that all the ballots are counted. I'd like to know, Sean, if you actually spent --

HANNITY: I get that. Do you -- when do you want the U.S. Senate involved?

McLEAN: Sean, I'd like to know that you actually spent the time looking at the ballots --

HANNITY: Oh, good grief.

McLEAN: -- that Norm Coleman has tried to have dismissed. Have you?

HANNITY: Kiki, I asked you a simple question. Do you want --

McLEAN: Have you looked at those?

HANNITY: Do you want the U.S. Senate involved?

McLEAN: Sean -- I want --

HANNITY: Can you just answer the question?

McLEAN: I want the law -- I want the -- Sean, I'd like the laws followed. And I'd like you to answer my question.

HANNITY: Oh, OK --

McLEAN: Did you review all the ballots that Norm Coleman has tried to throw out?

HANNITY: -- welcome to "The Kiki McLean Show." Go ahead, Kiki. What's your question?

McLEAN: My question to you is have you reviewed all the ballots that Norm Coleman has tried to throw out?

HANNITY: I've reviewed a number of them, but I don't see any that are this obvious.

McLEAN: You've reviewed a number of them?

HANNITY: For -- can I tell you?

McLEAN: You've gone -- you've gone there and you've looked? [inaudible]

HANNITY: Now, I'll go back to my question, considering the show is still called Hannity & Colmes. Do you want the United States Senate involved?

McLEAN: I think that we ought to follow the law and what the courts say.

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Sean Hannity
Show/Publication
Hannity & Colmes
Stories/Interests
Propaganda/Noise Machine, 2008 Elections
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