Friday, December 17, 2004

Ohio Voters Refile Election Challenge

(Link)By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS, Associated Press Writer

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Voters who claim problems with Ohio voting machines Nov. 2 indicated fraud refiled a request with the Ohio Supreme Court on Friday to overturn the presidential results

The 37 voters cite reports of machine errors, double-counting of some ballots and a shortage of voting machines in predominantly minority precincts as reasons to throw out the election results.

The challenge is backed by the Rev. Jesse Jackson (news - web sites) and Cliff Arnebeck, a Columbus attorney for the Massachusetts-based Alliance for Democracy, who accused the campaign of President Bush (news - web sites) of "high-tech vote stealing."

The group filed the request Monday, the day the Electoral College (news - web sites) cast votes for Bush. Chief Justice Thomas Moyer of the state Supreme Court threw out the complaint Thursday, saying the voters improperly included a second election challenge in the complaint.

Ohio and its 20 electoral votes were the difference in the presidential race. On Dec. 6, Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell declared President Bush the official winner in the state by 119,000 votes over Democrat John Kerry (news - web sites).

Elections officials are conducting a recount at the request of third-party presidential candidates, but neither the Bush nor Kerry campaigns expect it to change the outcome.

With 65 of Ohio's 88 counties reporting final recounts to The Associated Press on Friday, Bush had gained 395 votes and Kerry has gained 554 votes. The running tally accounts for 4.4 million votes cast, or about 74 percent of the total certified vote from the Nov. 2 election.

Officials said hanging chads that came loose when punch-card ballots were handled again or rerun through tallying machines account for most of the additional votes.


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