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Minnesota GOP chair joins Trump effort to overturn people's vote

Jennifer Carnahan is the latest Republican to allude to baseless allegations of voter fraud.
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Minnesota GOP chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan has seemingly joined President Donald Trump's effort to overturn the results of the presidential election, making evidence-less claims of electoral impropriety.

Carnahan followed up a vague tweet citing "extreme data abnormalities" in Minnesota's election vote – which Joe Biden won comfortably by 7.1% – with a statement in which she claimed – without providing any evidence – that the amount of Biden votes in several Minnesota counties is suspicious, rather than a repudiation of Trump's four years in office.

The counties she identified are St. Louis County and the Twin Cities suburban/exurban counties of Wright, Carver, Scott, Sherburne, and Anoka, which all saw swings toward Biden in 2020 compared to 2016.

The claims from Carnahan, which were later issued in an official Minnesota GOP press release, have been roundly mocked on social media. On her Facebook page, Carnahan said she'd been in contact with Sidney Powell, the president's campaign attorney, and will be "sharing information soon about Minnesota."

Powell was criticized Tucker Carlson's Fox News show Thursday evening for failing to present any evidence of voter fraud, saying they had asked for "bombshell" details and "she gave us nothing."

It comes amid efforts by President Trump to stage what national media is increasingly referring to as a non-violent coup by attempting to install himself as president on Jan. 20 via the courts, and by pressuring GOP officials in swing states like Michigan to deliver electoral votes to him despite Trump losing the state in the election.

On Thursday, judges in Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania threw out the Trump campaign's attempts to overturn the votes in these states, the latest in a growing string of in-court losses for the campaign.

In response to Carnahan's tweets, the Office of Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon effectively challenged her to bring any complaints she had through the legal system.

“It's hard to respond to allegations that are so vague and unformed," a statement said. "The bottom line is you can't just throw out conjecture and guesswork without real evidence. The place to raise issue with elections administration is through the court system, not social media.”

Here are just some of the reasons why such a claim is fanciful at best:

– Joe Biden won by 232,562 votes. A 7.1% margin. It wasn't close.

– Voter fraud or counting mistakes on the scale that would be required to overturn such a margin has not been reported in American history. A hand recount in Georgia this week found no evidence of voter fraud, with most counties finding no change in their final tally, and those that did had changes of fewer than 10 ballots.

– Carnahan's statement cites the increases in Democratic vote in certain counties without adding the context of the huge rise in turnout seen across the country and in Minnesota. This year, 3,276,806 votes were cast, compared to 2,944,813 in 2016. Trump himself received more votes in Minnesota this year, 1.483 million compared to 1.32 million in 2016.

– Her figures also don't take into account the minimal third-party vote in 2020. In 2016, third-party candidates accumulated 254,146 votes, but this year they received just 76,015, with more voters picking one of Biden or Trump.

– While Carnahan highlights hard swings to Biden in a handful of mostly suburban counties, she ignores similar hard swings to Trump in other areas. Democrat Collin Peterson lost his 7th District seat to GOP challenger Michelle Fischbach by a 13% margin, having won it by 4% in 2016. Carnahan appears to have no issue with this.

– Minnesota hasn't voted Republican since 1972. Biden's win is fairly consistent with other Democratic wins – not as large a margin as Barack Obama enjoyed in '08 and '12, but larger than Al Gore and John Kerry in 2000 and '04. Arguably the only anomalous result in recent electoral history was Trump getting to within 1.5% of Hillary Clinton in 2016.

– Trump had a consistently poor approval rating in Minnesota throughout his presidency, averaging just 41.8% approval and 54.9% disapproval since the start of 2019, per APM Research. His loss on Election Night was not considered a surprise.

– Trump's losses in the Twin Cities suburbs match similar trends in other states. This comes after months of reports that the president was performing poorly in suburban areas, with Trump himself making direct appeals to suburban women in particular, saying: "Will you please like me?"

The New York Times this week featured Chaska, Minnesota, as an apparent bellwether of the suburban shift away from Trump, with voters who spoke to the newspaper citing the president's comments fomenting wider unrest and his divisive comments on race among the reasons why they turned away from him. 

The newspaper also noted efforts made by the Democratic Party to increase support in Carver County, 

Minnesota's State Canvassing Board will meet on Tuesday to certify Minnesota's election results.

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