Opinion

Commentary: Campaigns shouldn't cry fraud without proof

It's been disappointing this week to see the apparently baseless claims of a tainted electoral process in the Republican primary for U.S. senator. We shouldn't have to tell any campaign that it ought not to cry election fraud, much less attack the integrity of an opponent, without a sound basis.

Republican senatorial candidate Joe Miller claimed for most of this week that there was an effort under way to skew the results in his primary election. His campaign accused Sen. Lisa Murkowski, or people working on her behalf, of engaging in unethical and perhaps illegal behavior.

The campaign claimed that many absentee voters had been called by an unidentified Murkowski-supporting organization to find out how they voted -- for vague but nefarious purposes. So far, not a single identified person has stepped forward to say he or she received such a call or to answer questions about it. Unfortunately, that hasn't kept hysterical talk show hosts, or anonymous commenters on websites, from recklessly spreading such conspiracy theories.

The campaign criticized last week's visit of a Republican lawyer to advise the Murkowski campaign about monitoring the count of absentee and questioned ballots. Campaign attorney Thomas Van Flein on Monday said a Murkowski consultant had access to the state's election management system, an accusation the Division of Elections says did not happen.

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