Alliance Co-Chair Cliff Arnebeck to File "Contest of Election" Lawsuit in Ohio Supreme Court
Published on Wednesday, December 1, 2004 by
Voters to Challenge US Election
by Julian Borger
victory in the US presidential election will be challenged in Ohio's supreme
court today, when a group of Democratic voters will allege widespread fraud.
President Bush clinched re-election by winning the state of Ohio on
November 2 by a margin of 136,000 votes over the Democratic candidate, John
Kerry. Despite claims of fraud and technical glitches, Senator Kerry decided
that they were not big enough to affect the result and conceded the election on
However, Cliff Arnebeck, a lawyer representing a group of
voters challenging the Ohio result, claimed new analysis of various anomalies
suggested it was rigged.
"We'll be calling for a reversal of the result
based on evidence developed in the course of litigation," Mr Arnebeck told The
Guardian yesterday. "Exit polling and substantial irregularities excluded votes
that should have been counted. There is evidence that votes cast for one
candidate were moved to the column of the other candidate."
a legal adviser to a liberal group, Alliance for Democracy, said the "contest of
election" lawsuit will be presented to a judge from the Ohio supreme court today
on behalf of at least 25 disgruntled voters. He said he expected other voters
and organisations to join the case.
Ohio's secretary of state, Kenneth
Blackwell, has until Monday to certify the result. His office did not return
calls seeking comment yesterday but his spokesman, Carlo LoParo, told the
Associated Press news agency: "There are no signs of widespread irregularities."
Mr Arnebeck said that hearings held in Ohio cities have brought to light
new evidence of malpractice. He said one voter of a pro-Republican group caught
destroying Democratic registration documents in Nevada before the election, had
also been operating in Ohio.
Critics of the Ohio count have also pointed
to the case of an electronic voting machine found to have credited President
Bush with 3,893 extra votes in a suburb of Columbus where only 638 people voted.
State officials have said those votes will not be included in the final
There have also been complaints focused on punch card
ballots, of the type which caused chaos in Florida in 2000. Voting involves
making a hole in the ballot against the chosen candidate by punching out a small
piece of card, a chad, with a stylus.
In the 68 Ohio counties where the
ballots were used this year, according to some groups protesting at this year's
election, vote counters were unable to determine a vote for the president, but
did register votes for other offices.
The veteran civil rights leader,
Reverend Jesse Jackson, is spearheading the call for an Ohio recount. "We can
live with winning and losing. We cannot live with fraud and stealing," he said
earlier this week.
The election challenge will be reviewed by a single
judge out of the seven members of Ohio's supreme court, who may let the election
stand, declare another winner, or throw out the result, forcing a recount or
even a new vote. The ruling can be appealed to the full court.
polls on election day suggested that the election could be heading towards a
Kerry victory, deepening the despair in Democratic ranks at the Bush win. The
anomaly was blamed on the exit polls, but Mr Arnebeck argued that it was
evidence of malpractice.
© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004