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Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Dem Lays Out Case Against Bush's Ohio Win

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January 5th, 2005 7:43 pm
Dem Lays Out Case Against Bush's Ohio Win

New York Times

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee protested President Bush's re-election Wednesday with a new report claiming serious election irregularities and ``significant disenfranchisement'' of voters in Ohio.

The report by Rep. John Conyers of Michigan says Congress should challenge the Electoral College vote when it is tallied Thursday in the House of Representatives and investigate all claims of voter problems in Ohio.

``We have found numerous, serious election irregularities in the Ohio presidential election,'' the report said. ``There are ample grounds for challenging the electors from the state of Ohio.''

Ohio's 20 electoral votes were critical for Bush's defeat of Democratic Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. A recount last week showed Bush winning Ohio by 118,457 votes over Kerry, according to an unofficial tally by The Associated Press.

The 102-page report titled ``Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio?'' lists such problems as unusually long lines, a shortage of voting machines in Democratic-leaning areas, confusion over provisional ballot rules and computer problems.

The report also contends there were widespread instances of intimidation and misinformation, improper purging of voter registration lists, a lack of inspection for about 93,000 ballots where no vote was cast for president, and vote totals not matching registration numbers or exit poll data.

``In many cases these irregularities were caused by intentional misconduct and illegal behavior, much of it involving Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, the co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign in Ohio,'' the report said.

Carlo LoParo, a spokesman for Blackwell, called the report ``ludicrous'' and a waste of time and taxpayer dollars.

``There are absolutely no grounds for challenging Ohio's electors,'' LoParo said.

Meanwhile, a small group of House Democrats were looking for a Democratic senator to co-sponsor their challenge of Ohio's 20 electoral votes. A single senator supporting the effort would require the two chambers to meet separately and consider the objection. That scenario, however, would still ensure Bush's re-election because both bodies are controlled by Republicans.

Conyers and a few other Democrats have likened the Ohio results to the contested but much closer vote in Florida four years ago when Bush defeated Vice President Al Gore for the White House.

A small number of House Democrats challenged Florida's electoral votes in January 2001 but could not persuade a senator to join them.

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