Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Dann to probe alleged irregularities in 2004 Ohio election

From the Toledo Blade Columbus Bureau, Nov. 21, 2007

COLUMBUS - Backers of a federal lawsuit alleging suppression of urban and younger voters in 2004 said yesterday that they are turning their case over to Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann in hopes he'll run with the investigation.

Dann spokesman Leo Jennings said the attorney general's office will look at the information but has made no other commitment.

Stemming from Ohio's election that ultimately gave President Bush a second term in the White House, the lawsuit accuses then-Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell and unnamed elections officials of undermining the vote in urban neighborhoods through decisions affecting voting-machine deployment, provisional ballot rules, and the purging of registration rolls.

U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley issued an order to have 2004 ballots preserved, but more than a million were subsequently destroyed as part of a routine purging of records.

The lawsuit does not seek to overturn the results of the election but calls for changes to prevent similar activities in next year's presidential election.

"What we're saying is there's probable cause that a crime has been committed, and it needs to be investigated," attorney Clifford Arnebeck said. "With the power of the public authorities, we think they can determine exactly how this was done, who did it, and hold them accountable."

Mr. Blackwell, who left office in early January, had dismissed the allegations as conspiracy theories. John Kerry, Mr. Bush's Democratic opponent in 2004, has never challenged the results of the Ohio vote.

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