Something's rotten in the state of Denmark

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Dogs and Cats, Living Together!

Two men. One a Green, one a Libertarian. No, not a new reality show on Fox (though, my God, after Rebel Billionaire and My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss tanked, maybe they should give it a whirl!) No, instead, Michael Badnarik, the Libertarian Party's 2004 Presidential Candidate, has joined David Cobb, the Green Party Presidential Candidate, to announce their intention -- God, this does sound like a marriage announcement! -- to "file a formal demand for a recount of the presidential ballots cast in Ohio."

Remember, the Libertarian Party was the place which actually drew a huge groundswell of economic conservatives who were aghast at Bush's high spending. Okay, really, Badnarik probably drew about, all told, a few thousand votes, nation-wide. Still, you can't accuse him of being a fringe lefty. Fringe righty, we'll leave others to judge.

The kicker in the Common Dreams press rele-- err, news item:

“Due to widespread reports of irregularities in the Ohio voting process, we are compelled to demand a recount of the Ohio presidential vote. Voting is the heart of the democratic process in which we as a nation put our faith. When people stand in line for hours to exercise their right to vote, they need to know that all votes will be counted fairly and accurately. We must protect the rights of the people of Ohio, as well as all Americans, and stand up for the right to vote and the right for people’s votes to be counted. The integrity of the democratic process is at stake,” the two candidates said in a joint statement.

The candidates also demanded that Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, a Republican who chaired the Ohio Bush campaign, recuse himself from the recount process.

But recounts cost money -- the estimated required fee for a complete Ohio recount being $110,000 -- and the campaigns are accepting contributions through their websites: Cobb and Badnarik.

This can only be good. (Q. Why good? A. Because now the Kerry Lawyer Brigade won't look so alone...)

Update: Shuster writes about all this on Hardblogger! He explains, "Unlike Florida in 2000, Ohio's recount rules are straightforward and specific. Once the Ohio vote is certified, which I'm told could happen as early as next week, the Green/Libertarian group will have five days to file a formal application for statewide recount. In addition, the group must then deposit $10 for every precinct to be recounted." Yay! Hooray for straightforward and specific!

What happens after they file the $110K?

"Once the recount application has been filed, the recount itself must begin within 10 days. So, expect to see the formal recount kick-off in early December."

And yes -- more specifics:

Again, the procedures in Ohio are quite clear: The recount must be conducted by teams having equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans; records must be available for visual inspection by witnesses; ballots must be handled only by members of the board; witnesses may observe the inspection the ballots; punch card ballots must be inspected for hanging chads ("if a chad is attached by three or four corners, a vote shall not be counted for that particular candidate.") and etc.  The lengthy list of rules and procedures are available on the Ohio Secretary of State's Web site.

That's right: did we forget to mention that in addition to optical-scan, large portions of Ohio are using PUNCH BALLOTS? Good times.

According to Shuster, pre-recount, here is where the Ohio vote total stands:

President Bush  (Republican Party)      2,796,147
John Kerry        (Democratic Party)     2,659,664
Badnarik           (Libertarian)                  14,331
Peroutka           (Constitutional)             11,614

I don't think that includes the provisional ballots.

All this and, on Friday, Chris Matthews talks about the Ohio situation on Hardball. It's looking more and more like we're going to have an Ohio recount -- and that's actually good news for everyone involved, as it will certify our confidence in the vote.

If the GOP sues to try to stop any recount from happening -- when it's part of Ohio state law -- I think that will be extremely telling. Better strategy for them to just let things transpire.