Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Some Major Papers Finally Covering U.S. Voting Irregularities, not just Ukraine's

Coverage of Voting Irregularites in the Guardian, Boston Globe, and the Washington Post:

Voters to challenge US election

Julian Borger in Washington
Wednesday December 1, 2004
The Guardian

George Bush's victory in the US presidential election will be challenged in Ohio's supreme court today, when a group of Democratic voters will allege widespread fraud.

President Bush clinched re-election by winning the state of Ohio on November 2 by a margin of 136,000 votes over the Democratic candidate, John Kerry. Despite claims of fraud and technical glitches, Senator Kerry decided that they were not big enough to affect the result and conceded the election on November 3.

However, Cliff Arnebeck, a lawyer representing a group of voters challenging the Ohio result, claimed new analysis of various anomalies suggested it was rigged.

"We'll be calling for a reversal of the result based on evidence developed in the course of litigation," Mr Arnebeck told The Guardian yesterday. "Exit polling and substantial irregularities excluded votes that should have been counted. There is evidence that votes cast for one candidate were moved to the column of the other candidate."

Voting Errors Tallied Nationwide

Brian C. Mooney
Boston Globe, December 1, 2004

[Nice map of election day problems accompanies the piece]

More than 4,000 votes vanished without a trace into a computer's overloaded memory in one North Carolina county, and about a hundred paper ballots were thrown out by mistake in another. In Texas, a county needed help from a laboratory in Canada to unlock the memory of a touch-screen machine and unearth five dozen votes.

In other places, machine undercounting or overcounting of votes was a problem. Several thousand votes were mistakenly double-counted in North Carolina, Ohio, Nebraska, and Washington state. Some votes in other areas were at first credited to the wrong candidates, with one Indiana county, by some quirk, misallocating several hundred votes for Democrats to Libertarians. In Florida, some machines temporarily indicated votes intended for challenger John F. Kerry were for President Bush, and vice versa.

In the month since the election, serious instances of voting machine problems or human errors in ballot counts have been documented in at least a dozen states, each involving from scores of ballots to as many as 12,000 votes, as in a North Carolina county. On Election Day, or in later reconciling tallies of ballots and voters, local officials discovered problems and corrected final counts. In some cases, the changes altered the outcomes of local races. But in North Carolina, the problems were so serious that the state may hold a rare second vote, redoing a contest for state agriculture commissioner decided by fewer votes than the number of ballots lost.

...

Of complaints about long lines that discouraged some from voting and allegations that there was a shortage of machines in some urban Democratic areas, LoParo said such decisions in Ohio are made by county boards of elections with two Republicans and two Democrats.

Long waits in Ohio and elsewhere resulted from the system being overwhelmed by a high turnout, said Doug Chapin, director of the nonpartisan electionline.org, which monitors reform efforts.

More attention should be paid to providing an adequate number of machines in polling places, he said, as well as ''finishing the job" mandated by the Help America Vote Act. Forty states, for example, have yet to comply with a mandate to establish a central, statewide database of registered voters. That will reduce questions about voter eligibility at election time, Chapin said.

Whatever the outcome of the recounts and the official inquiries by federal agencies, the impetus for improve voting systems will not fade, he said.

''This is not a fringe issue, because a sizable group is interested in pursuing this as a policy issue going forward," Chapin said. ''There's now a critical mass of people involved who want to address the problems that occurred in 2004. This issue is not going to go away."


Kerry Team Seeks to Join Fight to Get Ohio County to Recount
Brian Faler, Washington Post
Wednesday, December 1, 2004; Page A08

Sen. John F. Kerry's presidential campaign asked an Ohio judge yesterday to allow it to join a legal fight there over whether election officials in one county may sit out the state's impending recount.

A pair of third-party presidential candidates, who said that reports of problems at the polls on Election Day are not being addressed, are forcing the Buckeye State to recount its entire presidential vote. But David A. Yost, a lawyer for Delaware County, just outside Columbus, won a temporary restraining order last week blocking any recount there. He told the Columbus Dispatch that a second count would be a poor use of county resources. President Bush won the mostly Republican area handily, unofficial results show.
...

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