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Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Even More Fraud Evidence

WASHINGTON - As they ricochet around the country on the Internet, the details seem aligned to raise the eyebrows of suspicious Democrats. President Bush recorded 4,258 votes to Senator John F. Kerry's 260 in one suburb of Columbus, Ohio where only 638 ballots were cast. Across Ohio, some 76,000 punch-card ballots did not register votes for president, and officials have only begun to comb through 155,428 provisional ballots.In Holmes County, Florida, though nearly three-quarters of registered voters are Democrats, Bush wiped out Kerry, 6,410 to 1,810, in results that mirrored those in several other counties where optical-scan paper ballots were used. And in Florida's Broward County, after the first 32,000 absentee ballots were fed into the computer system, a software glitch caused additional ballots to be subtracted from vote totals, rather than added.

A week after Kerry conceded and Bush declared victory, those assertions and scores of others from New Mexico to North Carolina have kept alive speculation that Bush's victory either wasn't real or wasn't nearly as decisive as it seemed. With memories fresh from the 2000 irregularities, e-mails and Web postings accuse Republicans of stealing an election. Kerry campaign officials and a range of election-law specialists agree that while machines made errors and long lines in Democratic precincts kept many voters away, there's no realistic chance that Kerry actually beat Bush." No one would be more interested than me in finding out that we really won, but that ain't the case," said Jack Corrigan, a veteran Kerry adviser who led the Democrats' team of 3,600 attorneys who fanned out across the country on Election Day to address voting irregularities."I get why people are frustrated, but they did not steal this election," Corrigan said. Still, with reports swirling on the Internet, six Democratic members of Congress have asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate. Leading academics have joined the fray as well, saying that the integrity and future of the nation's voting system demand a vetting of all claims." The kind of thing that has to happen is a full-scale investigation," said Troy Duster, a New York University professor who is president of the American Sociological Association. "It sounds like a paranoid fantasy, but I think the data suggests that even if Bush won, he didn't win by the kind of margins that are out there. We have a crisis here of potential legitimacy with all the stuff going on on the Web, and the way to deal with this is to do the research." Most of the focus has been on results in Ohio and Florida, since if either of those states had gone for Kerry instead of Bush, the Massachusetts senator would be president-elect. Early exit polls in both states showed Kerry on track to win, and in each state voting and counting irregularities in numerous places have been reported."Fraud took place in the 2004 election," declares the team at BlackBoxVoting.org, one popular Web site that is compiling reports of election problems.

--Rick Klein, Boston Globe, Nov 10

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