Something's rotten in the state of Denmark

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Ohio update

The Associated Press today has this story:

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Most of the presidential election provisional ballots rejected so far in Ohio came from people who were not even registered to vote, election officials said after spending nearly two weeks poring over thousands of disputed votes.

The vast majority of provisional ballots have been legitimate, however. Of the 11 counties that have completed checking ballots, 81 percent of the ballots are valid, according to a survey Monday by The Associated Press.

It is too early to know whether the provisional ballots have benefited Bush or Kerry because counties first need to determine their validity before conducting the count.

Some people said they were holding out hope for a miracle until all votes were counted. Lawyers with Kerry's campaign were in Ohio to check into voters' concerns about ballots, but said they were not trying to challenge the election.

The counties have until Dec. 1 to complete their final count.

The focus is on the 155,337 provisional ballots cast by Ohio voters. Provisional ballots are cast by voters whose names are not on the rolls for some reason or whose eligibility is otherwise in doubt, and are counted after the election is over if they are deemed valid.

Reasons provisional ballots were rejected in Ohio included missing information such as addresses or signatures and people voting in precincts where they do not live. Other people simply were not registered.

In another twist to the tally, a statewide recount of the presidential vote appears inevitable after a pair of third-party candidates said they have collected enough money to pay for it. The recount would be conducted after the election results are certified.

The candidates said they are not trying to overturn Bush's victory in Ohio, but just want to ensure that all votes were counted properly in the face of concerns about Election Day irregularities.

``Our bottom line is to stand up for the integrity of the voting process because the voting process is the heart of the democratic process,'' said Blair Bobier, spokesman for Green Party candidate David Cobb.

In New Hampshire, third-party presidential candidate Ralph Nader has asked for a recount covering 11 of the state's 126 precincts that use Diebold Inc.'s Accuvote optical scanning machines to count paper ballots. Depending on the results, his campaign could ask for recounts in other states, spokesman Kevin Zeese said Monday.

Here is my large concern: if the results in Ohio gets certified by December 1, how much time does that allow any recount to go forward before the electors meet in Washington, DC? If the recount shows, heaven forbid, any difference in the vote, enough of a difference to award the electoral votes of a state to a different candidate, what happens if the electoral college has already met?