The accusations of voter fraud flying around the Nevada Senate race are little more than a setup for Republicans to question the election's outcome if Republican challenger Sharron Angle loses, says a leading Nevada political reporter.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is in a tight race against Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle going into the mid-term vote next week, with the latest poll showing Angle four points ahead of Reid, and a running average showing less than two percentage points separating them.
With the outcome so uncertain, both sides have grown sensitive about the potential for voting irregularities.
But John Ralston of the Las Vegas Sun told Fox News' America's Newsroom Thursday that the allegations coming from the Angle campaign are baseless.
"All they have are these wisps of information from voters complaining about various things, which happens every year," Ralston said. "But they're making a pre-emptive strike here, the Republicans are, just in case Sharron Angle loses, so they can cry fraud."
Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller, a Democrat, said Wednesday that there is no evidence to support allegations of voter fraud.
"It is not technologically possible-- technically possible to pre-program these machines to cast ballots," Miller said. "The only way that you can select or deselect candidates on the ballot is for the user to do that manually."
Earlier this week, a lawyer for the Angle campaign, Cleta Mitchell, sent a fundraising letter declaring that "Harry Reid intends to steal this election if he can't win it outright."
Two days ago, the Democratic Secretary of State announced that voters can be provided "free food" at "voter turnout events." Harry Reid has been offering free food and, according to other reports, some Democratic allies such as teachers' unions are offering gift cards in return for a vote for Reid.
Before we were even able to document the reported infractions to report to the authorities, the Democrat Secretary of State slammed the door shut on preventing this behavior and issued a public statement permitting these ACORN-style tactics. THESE are the kinds of shenanigans that can turn this race.
Ralston didn't directly respond to Fox host Bill Hemmer's questions about Reid campaigners offering Starbucks cards to voters, though, as Mitchell's letter notes, the secretary of state has okayed the tactic.
"I actually think this is a good idea, we want voters to be more awake when they go to the polls," Ralston quipped.
BradBlog's Brad Friedman, who reports on voting irregularities around the country, reports that the Angle campaign's claims "are baseless and evidence-free at this time, though some have roots, at least, in legitimacy."
And while State Secretary Miller declared Nevada's voting machines "technically" un-hackable, Friedman describes them as "100 percent unverifiable, error-prone, hackable, illegally-certified, electronic voting systems."
The Las Vegas Sun reported Thursday that one of the groups making the allegation of vote fraud by the Reid camp was funded by a now-defunct political action committee run by Angle.
In 2008, Angle's We the People Nevada PAC contributed $92,000 to the Nevada Action Coalition. The Coalition emerged this month as a player in alleging ballot hijinks by Democrats.
Coalition members recently advertised a "voter fraud" meeting and accused Reid of wanting to rig the race.
"Want to make sure Harry and his buddies don't steal this election?" an Oct. 9 web post read. "Then come to the training next Tuesday. We need lots of watchers, cause you know the dark side has secret plans for this election."
The following was broadcast on Fox News' America's Newsroom, Thursday Oct. 28, 2010, and uploaded to the Web by MediaMatters.