As we’ve noted earlier, there’s a cover story in this week’s National Review alleging various forms of vote fraud in the South Dakota Senate race, which supposedly cost the Republican candidate, John Thune, the election. You’ve got conservatives in town jumping around like monkeys over this (I even see them popping up and down outside my window sometimes…). So let me just note a few points to keep this all in, shall we say, perspective.
Here’s an article from today’s Rapid City Journal — the more conservative of the state’s major papers — in which the Republican Attorney General, Mark Barnett, debunks the RNC-collected affidavits on which the National Review article is based.
Definitely read the article to get the whole picture. But here are a few choice snippets.
“Realistically, many of the things set out in those affidavits are not crimes. They are what I would call local election-board management problems,” Barnett, a Republican, said. “A fair number could be read as complaints about how effective the Democratic get-out-the-vote effort was. They had people watching, then jumping on the phone to one of their drivers.”
And about those Democratic goons who kept the polls open late in that one precinct? Well maybe not so much …
Barnett offered an on-the-spot Election Day legal opinion about what to do when poll workers inadvertently opened the polls at 7 a.m. Central time, an hour too early according to the law.
“Saying the polls were open too long is not an accurate way to describe it. It was opened too early,” Barnett said. “Several affidavits assume that Democratic operatives are the ones who made it stay open. That’s not accurate. It was Republican officials who made the decision, myself among them.”
State law does not say polls shall be open for 12 hours, he said. The law says polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., local time.
“If you screw up and open at 6, you don’t fix a morning screw-up by doing an evening screw-up,” Barnett said. “If a voter had walked up to a polling place at 6:30 p.m. and found a padlocked door, we would have had the clearest case of a voter-rights violation that I ever heard of. If statute says you’re open until 7, you’re open until 7.”
Hopefully this dose of truth will cut down on the local monkeys’ hang-time.