As expected, the recount in Ohio didn’t change the outcome of the election. Nobody expected it to. But what people were expecting was a valid, honest recount, and that didn’t always happen. Hand-recounts to insure the vote didn’t always occur, and machine recounts were tainted by unauthorized modifications to hardware and software made by voting machine firms.
What will come out of Ohio are the stories of the dishonesty, about voter intimidation, about 10 hour long waits to vote. All that will come out, spearheaded by Democrats.
What can still be done is to have a Senator go along with a Representative to question the outcome. It won’t matter much, with a Republican controlled House and Senate, but dissent will still be dissent. And this time, it will be Republicans in the Congress who will have tainted returns on their heads, instead of the Supreme Court.
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Ohio recount over, shows Bush, Kerry few hundred votes closer
TOLEDO, Ohio – The presidential recount in Ohio finished Tuesday, shaving a few hundred votes off President Bush’s six-figure margin of victory in the state that gave him the election.
The recount shows Bush winning the election by 118,457 votes over John Kerry, according to unofficial results provided to The Associated Press by the 88 counties. Lucas County, where Toledo is located, was the last to finish counting, with its results reported Tuesday coming about two weeks after the recount started.
The Kerry campaign supported the recount, saying it did not expect the tally to change the election winner. Supporters of the recount requested by two minor party candidates said they wanted to make sure that every valid vote was counted.
Ohio and its 20 electoral votes tipped the race to Bush when Kerry conceded the morning after the vote. The state declared Bush the winner by 119,000 votes and planned to adjust its totals to reflect the recount later this week.
Kerry gained 734 more votes in the recount, and Bush picked up 449, mostly from disqualified ballots that were counted in the second tally because hanging chads had come loose when ballots were handled again or rerun through counting machines.
That put Kerry 285 votes closer to Bush. The president’s victory margin declined by about three dozen more votes when some counties adjusted their certified vote totals.
The Lucas County elections board said that its recount found that Bush gained 14 votes while Kerry picked up 64.
Board director Paula Hicks-Hudson said she hopes the recount will satisfy those who questioned the results.
Witnesses from the parties who watched workers count ballots by hand and machine said the effort provided assurance that boards were accurately counting ballots.
“They left understanding and appreciating what we did,” Hicks-Hudson said.
The Green and Libertarian party presidential candidates asked for the recount and raised the $113,600 required under state law for the process.
Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell has estimated that the recount will end up costing taxpayers $1.5 million.
“The intention was always to verify whether there were anomalies in the voting process,” said Libertarian candidate Michael Badnarik. “The purpose of the recount was not to change the outcome.”
The completion of the recount does not signal an end to questions surrounding the vote in Ohio.
A group of voters citing fraud have challenged the election results with the Ohio Supreme Court. The voters refer to irregularities including long lines, a shortage of voting machines in minority precincts and problems with computer equipment.
Cliff Arnebeck, an attorney representing the voters, wasn’t taking much stock in the recount effort.
He said elections boards didn’t randomly sample votes during the hand counts and that there was no independent investigation into the accuracy of counting machines to determine whether the machines had been tampered with.
“You’re allowing the original error to be repeated a second time, so it’s not a meaningful recount,” he said.
The challenge, supported by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, is based partly on comparison of reports of exit polling data with the official vote. Lawyers on the case say they would like to see the supporting data that produced the exit poll results.
Attorney General Jim Petro has called the challenge frivolous and argued that the state Supreme Court does not have jurisdiction over a federal election.
The Government Accountability Office, an arm of Congress, is investigating election problems. Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio and chairman of the House Administration Committee, will oversee an inquiry next year.
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission, created in 2002, is also scrutinizing the outcome. It plans to publish in January the government’s first report on the voting, which will serve as the basis for congressional recommendations and reforms.