A forum at the National Association of Realtors‘ annual conference featuring married political consultants James Carville and Mary Matalin surprised attendees Monday as Matalin continuously claimed that there had been widespread voter fraud in the recent presidential election without offering any evidence.

The session, “Federal Legislative and Political Forum: All’s Fair: Love, War and Politics – James Carville & Mary Matalin Discuss Current Events,” was billed as “an enlightening and entertaining look at today’s most important political issues” and “a stimulating, candid, and provocative conversation from both sides of the political aisle” in advance of the panel.

During the forum, Matalin repeatedly referred to voter fraud during the 2020 election, using terms such as “fraud votes,” “fraudulent ballots” and “fraudulent votes.” She pointed to 450,000 ballots in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona and Georgia that only voted for Joe Biden for president and did not include any down ballot votes. “That’s improbable and close to impossible,” she said.

There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

Regarding Matalin’s claim, The Washington Post has pointed out that “Americans have a long and demonstrated history of voting for president and skipping all or much of the rest of the ballot.” The paper notes that 450,000 is less than 2 percent of the votes cast in those states and that previous elections have included similarly large numbers of people voting for president and nothing else.

“In Georgia in 2016, for instance, the presidential race included more than 200,000 more votes than the state’s Senate race — nearly 5 percent of all voters in the state. In Florida, the gap was 120,000 votes. In Ohio, it was 122,000. It was also more than 110,000 in Pennsylvania,” the Post reported.

Matalin predicted that after run-off votes in Georgia in January, current Senate leader Mitch McConnell would be “the de facto president, the only adult in the room.” At one point, Matalin said that more minorities had voted for Trump this time around and she doubted that minorities would “go back to the enslavement they were in under the Democratic Party” — a comment that some attendees objected to.

Carville didn’t offer a prediction on those races but said he thought Georgia would remain a swing state.

Chat box comments from attendees at the Realtors Conference and Expo Federal Legislative and Political Forum, Nov. 16, 2020

Matalin repeated an unproven claim that there were 1.8 million more votes than there were eligible voters in the election and claimed that poll watchers in sworn affidavits had said that mail-in ballots were “fraudulently collected because they didn’t have valid signatures, they didn’t get in on time.” She also claimed that “you cannot have thousands and thousands and thousands of blank ballots showing up to be adjusted at the 11th hour after the polls are closed, that’s just not legal.”

President Trump’s efforts to contest the election results in the courts have largely failed due to lack of evidence. On Monday, four cases challenging the results in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia and Wisconsin on behalf of Trump voters were dropped.

The moderators, forum chair John Blom and forum vice chair Matt Silver, did not ask Matalin for any evidence backing up her statements and simply thanked her for her comments. A NAR press release sent out nearly three hours after the forum made no reference to Matalin’s statements regarding voter fraud.

Asked whether NAR was aware that Matalin would be talking about voter fraud during the session, what NAR thought of Matalin’s claims, whether NAR believes there was widespread voter fraud during the election, and whether NAR believed allowing Matalin to use NAR as a platform to express her views about voter fraud was valuable for its members, a spokesperson said in an email, “This was the summary of the event we prepared and provided to the public and to our members in advance of the event, which includes our expectations for the topics that would be covered.

“We have repeatedly and successfully used this forum in the past as an opportunity to feature opinions from both sides of the political divide on politics and policy. We don’t control what the speakers say — it is their opinion and any questions on their comments should go to their representatives.”

NAR declined to comment on how conference attendees reacted to Matalin’s comments in the chat box alongside the forum livestream. While some attendees appeared to agree with Matalin, the majority of the commenters asked Matalin for evidence to back up her claims or expressed disgust at her comments, saying, “I hear opinions – not facts – this is not what we are about-” “Really shocked that Mary is talking about fraud and comparing this year to Bush/Gore. Totally irresponsible!!” “Mary is referencing old data. We want fair on BOTH sides!!” and “There is ZERO evidence of what she is saying.”

Chat box comments from attendees at the Realtors Conference and Expo Federal Legislative and Political Forum, Nov. 16, 2020

Referring to Carville’s comparative lack of verbosity, one commenter said, “I think we need the questions answered by both of the guests it is very one-sided” while another attendee said, “Let me leave this room, I want to continue to enjoy the conference!”

Chat box comments from attendees at the Realtors Conference and Expo Federal Legislative and Political Forum, Nov. 16, 2020

Others said they were offended by Matalin’s statements. They said, “Seriously MM the adult in the room??” “Enslaved? Really…” “This is just getting offensive” “This is crazy talk…lawyers have been digging for this stuff and found nothing…this is offensive” “Wow! How can she spew this stuff!”

Chat box comments from attendees at the Realtors Conference and Expo Federal Legislative and Political Forum, Nov. 16, 2020

The livestream of the forum briefly went offline for three or four minutes while Matalin was talking about the aforementioned 450,000 votes. In the chat box, NAR representatives said they were having technical difficulties. After the stream returned, the moderators had Matalin and Carville answer additional questions to make up for the lost time and the forum ended up going about 13 minutes over its scheduled time. NAR declined to comment on why the livestream went offline.

For his part, Carville ignored Matalin’s claims of voter fraud, saying, “Biden did a good job. He’s gonna win the presidency and it’s not even going to be a particularly close election.”

Email Andrea V. Brambila.

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