Something's rotten in the state of Denmark

Thursday, November 18, 2004

NH/Ohio/Florida: Where to begin? Good day sunshine!

The big news, of course, is this. But some other goodies/developments:

Vote Recount to Settle Doubts? by Kim Zetter of Wired News - everything you wanted to know about the New Hampshire recount. Plus more that you didn't necessarily want to know, but will gladly skim!

Wait, maybe this is the big news. From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

"Seeming to brush aside John Kerry's concession speech, the Ohio Democratic Party has launched a federal court fight over nearly 155,000 provisional ballots by contending a proper accounting of those votes might decide who really won... County officials across the state began tabulating provisional ballots Friday. "Given the closeness of the presidential and other elections," Ohio's provisional ballots "may prove determinative of the outcome," Democrats argue in a legal filing made public Wednesday by the U.S. District Court.

The lawsuit asked U.S. District Judge Michael H. Watson to order Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell to impose uniform standards for counting provisional votes on all 88 counties. Democrats want the judge to take action quickly - before the results of the election are certified.

Watson, who was appointed by Bush, has not set a hearing. Don McTigue, a Columbus lawyer who filed the lawsuit for the Ohio Democratic Party, said the Democrats have concerns that different standards are being applied from county to county.

"Our action is not tied to some hope of changing the outcome of the election. We're being consistent with the Kerry campaign, and the Democratic Party's interest in seeing all eligible ballots are counted," McTigue said.

Carlo LoParo, a spokesman for Blackwell, defended Ohio's rules for handling provisional ballots as explicit. He said Blackwell, a Republican, is adamant that every valid vote will be counted.

In court papers, the Democrats cite Bush v. Gore - the Supreme Court ruling after Florida's contested election that awarded Bush the White House in 2000 - as a legal precedent for the Ohio lawsuit. That case was decided by a majority of five justices.

"In Bush v. Gore, the United States Supreme Court held that the failure to provide specific standards for counting of ballots that are sufficient to assure a uniform count statewide violates the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution," their court filing said.

In Ohio, Democrats argue, the state lacks clear statewide rules that guarantee provisional ballots are processed consistently from county to county.

First we have Nader pushing for recounts to Democrats' potential benefit, and now we have Democrats citing Bush v. Gore as precedent. Let's buy our irony in bulk!

And, finally, things seem to be percolating in Volusia County in Florida, where Bev Harris of fame might be on the verge of having evidence of fraud. Maybe. ""We began to compare the special printouts given to us with the signed polling tapes from election night. Lo and behold, some were missing. We also found some that didn't match. In fact, in one location, precinct 215, an African-American precinct, the votes were off by hundreds, in favor of George W. Bush and other Republicans. Hmm. Which was right? Our polling tape, specially printed on Nov. 15, without signatures, or theirs, printed on Nov. 2, with up to 8 signatures per tape?" I linked to DailyKos' story about it, because the comments box is truly beautiful. "This COULD BE IT!!!" etc.