Democrats Already Planning Legal Challenge For ND Senate Race Outcome


At Slate they’ve been talking to Democrat operatives who are already making noises about legal challenges to the outcome of the Berg/Heitkamp Senate race, questioning specifically the influx of oil workers in the western part of the state.

Which is hilarious given that, in the voter ID debate, Democrats are quick to assure us that voter fraud doesn’t happen.

Imagine Heitkamp v. Berg having all of the legal machinations of the epic eight-month Minnesota recount that eventually sent Al Franken to the Senate, laced with the partisan vote-fraud paranoias that have hovered over this election cycle. This time, however, it is Democrats who are imagining buses of ineligible voters streaming to polling places, particularly arriviste oil-field workers in the booming northwest corner of the state who could cast affidavit ballots even if not they’re not permanent North Dakota residents.

“If you are challenged at the time, all you need to do is sign something saying you are a qualified elector,” says one Democratic operative familiar with the party’s plans in case of a post-election legal battle. “If we can prove that an affidavit ballot was inappropriately cast we have no recourse.”

First, these concerns over a potential legal battle don’t sound like they come from a political party that’s confident of victory. These complaints sound like they’re coming from people who are already searching for a rationalization for losing.

And why wouldn’t they be? While Democrats have touted a stream of partisan polling showing their candidate leading, the reality of the independent polling is that Berg has a substantial lead. I’d be very surprised if Berg won by anything less than 5 points.

But North Dakota Democrats are in desperate straights. After election day they aren’t likely to hold a single statewide office or a federal office.

Maybe inventing conspiracy theories about vote fraud in western ND will comfort them as they lick their wounds,

Rob Port

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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