In a press release Monday, Maine Republican Party Chairman Richard Bennett responded to a chorus of liberal accusations of voter fraud in Maine Senate District 25.
The race was originally called for Democrat Cathy Breen on election night with a lead of 32 votes. However, in the subsequent recount, Breen’s opponent, Republican Cathleen Manchester was declared the winner.
The controversy arose over a discrepancy in the vote total on Long Island. On election night, officials stated that 171 residents of Long Island had voted. The ballots were then locked and stored away. When that same box was opened for the recount, officials counted 192 ballots—21 more than had been previously accounted for.
Even though the Democrats did not question any of the ballots during the recount, they nonetheless held that the results of the recount are invalid.
Liberal blogger and failed Senate candidate Cynthia Dill even went so far as to suggest police misconduct in the handling of the ballots.
“Will Cathy Manchester, a former stock car racer and the first woman Chief of Police in Maine, question the possibility of misconduct by the brotherhood of Maine State Police?” wrote Dill. “Will she demand an investigation that might result in her losing a coveted senate seat?”
Police misconduct is, of course, a serious accusation—one that Dill makes with no evidence.
“The Maine Democratic Party and their bloggers and allies, Ethan Strimling, Mike Tipping, Cynthia Dill, and the entire Portland Press Herald, are dishonestly attacking the election process and, apparently, the Maine State Police, by falsely raising the specter of ‘fraud’, despite the fact that the ballot boxes were sealed and kept in the appropriate secure chain of custody per Maine law,” said Bennett in a press release.
As pointed out by Steve Mistler at the Press Herald, voter fraud would have been quite difficult if Maine law was followed, and there’s no reason to believe that it was not.
Despite calls for a full investigation by the Senate, it seems unlikely that such an investigation would uncover much. The 21 “new” ballots that were found in the locked box have since been mixed in with the “original” ballots, making it impossible to analyze them. Although the discrepancy in votes cast is strange, there is no evidence of wrong-doing with which to launch an investigation.
Bennett was quick to point out liberal hypocrisy on voter fraud.
“At the same time Democrats are attempting to dishonestly cast a dark cloud over an honest woman who was elected in a bipartisan recount under the supervision of a Democrat Secretary of State, Democrats are welcoming back to their ranks in the Maine House of Representatives, John Martin, a man who had to resign his position as Speaker of the Maine House because his top aide was actually convicted of ballot tampering,” said Bennett. “It is unfathomable that the Maine Democratic Party is so desperate to play politics that they will suggest, without a bit of proof, that the Maine State Police, Maine election officials, or the people who conducted this bipartisan recount, would commit fraud.”
Incoming Senate President Mike Thibodeau hopes to settle the issue on Wednesday.