Who Really Won?

Monday, December 13, 2004

Kerry Speaks Up

Kerry lawyer asks for visual inspection of some Ohio ballots

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Democrat John Kerry is asking county elections officials to allow his witnesses to visually inspect the 92,000 ballots cast in Ohio in which no vote for president was recorded, a Kerry lawyer said Sunday night.

The request is one of 11 items that Kerry is asking for as part of the recount that Ohio's 88 county boards of election will begin this week, according to a letter sent to the boards over the weekend.

"We're trying to increase the transparency of the election process," said Donald McTigue, the lawyer handling the recount for the Kerry campaign.
McTigue said the visual inspection is allowed under state law. The goal is to look for potential votes that were not registered by the tabulating equipment.

Other requests include the use of independent experts to check the programming and calibration of the election equipment, something McTigue said has never been allowed.

McTigue also asked that counties accept the help of a group called Votewatch to determine which precincts will be chosen for that part of the vote that will be counted by hand. McTigue said using the group will ensure that the ballots are selected using a valid random sampling method.

The procedures require 3 percent of ballots to be counted by hand in each county, and then all ballots to be counted if the initial check turns up problems.

McTigue would not speculate how many of the items the counties will honor.

"Several requests are trying to push the edge of envelope," he said.

Carlo LoParo, spokesman for Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, said state law will guide counties on how to do the recount.

"I don't know if Mr. McTigue is in a position to dictate the terms of a recount," he said.