November 23, 2004

Judge Denies Immediate Recount

Judge Denies Demand for Ohio Recount

Associated Press

TOLEDO, Ohio - A federal judge on Tuesday denied a request by third-party presidential candidates who wanted to force a recount of Ohio ballots even before the official count was finished.

Judge James G. Carr in Toledo ruled that the candidates have a right under Ohio law to a recount, but said it can wait. The judge wrote that he saw no reason to interfere with the final stages of Ohio's electoral process. Officials have said the results will be certified by Dec. 6.

The lawsuit by Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb and Libertarian candidate Michael Badnarik had asked Carr to issue an order requiring Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell to immediately begin statewide recount of Nov. 2 voting results.

The candidates received a combined 0.26 percent of the vote in unofficial results. But they contend a recount is necessary to ensure accuracy.

President Bush led Democrat John Kerry by 136,000 votes in the unofficial count, and Kerry conceded that there were not enough provisional ballots to change the outcome. But Kerry supporters have made numerous claims of voting irregularities in Ohio.

The two candidates have said they raised more than $150,000 to cover the state's fee for a recount. Ohio law requires payment of $10 per precinct, or $113,600 statewide, but election officials say the true expense would be far greater.

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