Republicans across the country have been claiming that massive voter fraud is about to tip the 2008 elections, with Senator John McCain even warning of it "destroying the fabric of democracy."
Although critics have found these claims to be "wildly overblown," Republicans continue to press them, in what some regard as a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise potential Democratic voters.
Last month, Wisconsin's Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen brought a lawsuit against that state's Government Accountability Board, which oversees elections, to compel them to cross-check more than 240,000 voter registrations going back as far as January 2006 against driver's license records.
The case could have forced many voters to use provisional ballots, calling their votes into question and tying up the polls on Election Day. A judge ruled against Van Hollen's lawsuit last week, but he and the Wisconsin Republican Party intend to appeal.
Van Hollen told CNN he is convinced that voter fraud is taking place because "some people are registered who are fictitious."
However, the attorney for Wisconsin's Election Board, Lester Pines, counters, "I compare the possibility of massive vote fraud in Wisconsin to the same likelihood as alien abduction."
Pines himself is a prominent Democrat and Obama supporter, who held a political event at his home just days after being hired to defend the Board against Van Hollen's suit
A Wisconsin country clerk interviewed by CNN stated without hesitation that she has not seen any evidence of massive voter fraud, although "sometimes a voter will fill in the registration form and they've misspelled the name of their street."
Milwaukee reporter Bruce Murphy checked with a voting registration expert, who told him that minor discrepancies between voter registrations and other state records disproportionately affect two groups that vote heavily Democratic -- Hispanics with hyphenated last names and African-Americans with unique first names.
Van Hollen has been accused of "playing party politics" because he is also the honorary state co-chairman of McCain's presidential campaign. One local blog even called him "Wisconsin's Katherine Harris," with reference to the disputed election in Florida in 2000 in which the Republican Secretary of State played a significant role.
CNN's Susan Roesgen noted these concerns and asked Van Hollen, "Isn't it true that there was a discussion in your office with lawyers for the GOP a week before you filed this lawsuit?"
Van Hollen denied that the Republican lawyers had asked him to sue the Election Board, although he admitted, "They may have asked lawyers in my office to file the lawsuit."
Van Hollen himself acknowledges, "I have no doubt in my mind that there are going to be people out there who are going to say, 'Boy, that looks a little bit fishy.'"
This video is from CNN.com, broadcast October 26, 2008.