Illegal Procedure

Better known to football fans as a false start, or offsides

There are several stories floating around today about recounts in Ohio, but those who don the tin sheened helmet ought to cast their gaze back toward last week.

When last we left tiny New Hampshire, professional fringe candidate Ralph Nader had requested a recount of some New Hampshire towns. Why? Because someone on the internet crunched the numbers to show the the evil optical scan ballots favored George Bush by more that the exit polls and 2000 results would suggest.

So how’s that recount going? The Concord Monitor reports:

Nader, an independent presidential candidate this year, paid $2,000 to begin a recount of 11 of the state’s 126 precincts after an analysis showed wide differences in voting trends between the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections.

The analysis, performed by Michigan programmer Ida Briggs, said Sen. John Kerry’s votes were much worse in some locations than former vice president Al Gore’s in 2000, even though Kerry carried the state and Gore didn’t.

Election officials hoped to finish recounts in five of Nader’s 11 precincts yesterday, but only finished two by 4 p.m. and some partial returns by 8 p.m., Gardner said. Those areas, Litchfield and Manchester’s Ward 7, showed little change from the official tallies.

Briggs said Gore lost Litchfield by 8 percentage points, but Kerry lost by 15. Gore won the Manchester ward by 8 points, but the candidates were even this year, she added.

She called the results strange, but she acknowledged the early recount results showed the changes from 2000 may reflect the actual vote accurately.

“What we’re seeing is just oddness in New Hampshire,” she said. “That may just be the way it is.”None of this is likely to slow the drumbeat for recount in Ohio, which it is estimated will cost Ohio taxpayers nearly $1.4 million dollars, on top of the $113,600 paid by Libertarian Michael Badnarik and the Green Party’s David Cobb.

Of course there’s also the minor detail that Ohio is not finished counting every provisional vote, as John Edwards has implored them to do. As the local election official said, “There’s no final count. There’s no number from which to begin a recount.”

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  1. Omni November 23, 2004
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