We don’t yet know what the Republican Party of Minnesota will find in the document dumps they’re seeking from counties, but one allegation unheard in these parts: “voting machines registered thousands of phantom votes for Dayton.”
That’s what Fox News reported Friday.
A charitable interpretation: Fox News reporter April Girouard garbled Hennepin County’s reporting error Election Night, which temporarily swelled Dayton’s margin.
That didn’t involve voting machines at the polling places, which a reasonable person would think reading the Fox item. And the “phantom votes” were registered for all candidates when a clerk hit “add,” rather than “replace” sending updated totals to the state’s website. (Dayton got more votes in Hennepin County, so his margin increased.)
The tabulation error was fixed in 45 minutes, and the county’s bipartisan canvassing board unanimously approved the numbers a few days later.
A less charitable interpretation is that Fox News is deliberately publishing a less charitable interpretation. Given how Fox News pushed the “ballots in the car” myth — aided by a wink-and-a-nod from Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty — there’s reason to suspect a thumb on the scale. Watch closely to see if this imprecision crosses from website to TV.
Emails to Fox’s newsroom seeking comment were not returned.