Monday, January 29, 2007

They Get 16 Months; We Got 4 Years

In an anticlimactic coda to the 2004 election scandals, two Ohio election workers have been convicted of working to subvert the voting process in their county. Everyone's dancing around the effect this might have had on the national election, and the prosecutor in the case won't claim that they artificially swung the election for the wrong man. But what they did was cherry-pick ballots so as to avoid a recount, which indeed might well have altered the outcome of the election.

We'll never know. Thanks to these fine people. And think - these are only the ones we know about, now, years after the fact. And meanwhile, certain people are out to make voting more obsfucated, less open, and more subject to manipulation.


Blogger Management said...

Diebold Elections Systems is currently run by Bob Urosevich [1] who has worked in the election systems industry since 1976. In 1979, Mr. Urosevich founded American Information Systems. He served as the President of AIS now known as Election Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S) from 1979 through 1992. Bob's brother, Todd Urosevich, is Vice President, Aftermarket Sales with ES&S, DES's chief competitor. In 1995, Bob Urosevich started I-Mark Systems, whose product was a touch screen voting system utilizing a smart card and biometric encryption authorization technology. Global Election Systems, Inc. (GES) acquired I-Mark in 1997, and on July 31, 2000 Mr. Urosevich was promoted from Vice President of Sales and Marketing and New Business Development to President and Chief Operating Officer. On January 22, 2002, Diebold announced the acquisition of GES, then a manufacturer and supplier of electronic voting terminals and solutions. The total purchase price, in stock and cash, was $24.7 million. Global Election Systems subsequently changed its name to Diebold Election Systems, Inc.

In 2006 Diebold decided to remove its name from the front of the voting machines for strategic reasons. CEO Thomas Swidarski will decide in the beginning of 2007 if Diebold stays in the election business. [1]

[edit] Software

Together, ES&S and Diebold Election Systems are (as of 2004) responsible for tallying approximately 80% of the votes cast in the United States[2]. The software architecture common to both is a creation of Mr. Urosevich's company I-Mark. Some experts claim that this structure is easily compromised, in part due to its reliance on Microsoft Access databases. Britain J. Williams, responsible for certification of voting machines for the state of Georgia and a consultant to Diebold, has provided an assessment based on his accounting of potential exploits.

Their Diebold GEMS central tabulator software, version 1.18.15 of which counted most votes in the United States[citation needed] in the U.S. presidential election, 2004, is at the center of controversy for apparent irregularities versus the U.S. presidential election, 2004, exit polls. The Diebold AccuVote voting machine has also come under scrutiny especially by Ralph Nader's campaign.

The GEMS software, certified by NASED via Ciber Labs employee Shawn Southworth of Huntsville, Alabama is at the center of an alleged Diebold Election Systems electoral fraud, 2004 that is much more serious than the previous allegations in the U.S. presidential election, 2000 and US midterm Congressional elections, 2002 in which Diebold also came under scrutiny.

[edit] Ethical questions about Diebold personnel

Jeff Dean, Senior Vice-President and Senior Programmer at Global Election Systems (GES), the company purchased by Diebold in 2002 which became Diebold Election Systems, was convicted of 23 counts of felony theft for planting back doors in software he created for ATMs using, according to court documents, a "high degree of sophistication" to evade detection over a period of two years.[2] In addition to Dean, GES employed a number of other convicted felons in senior positions, including a fraudulent securities trader and a drug trafficker.[3]

In December 2005, Diebold's CEO Wally O'Dell left the company following reports that the company was facing securities fraud litigation surrounding charges of insider trading. [4]

[edit] O'Dell's fundraising

In August 2003, Walden O'Dell, chief executive of Diebold, announced that he had been a top fund-raiser for President George W. Bush and had sent a get-out-the-funds letter to Ohio Republicans. In the letters he says he is "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year." Critics of Diebold interpreted this as implying that he might rig the company's electronic voting machines to give an unfair advantage to Bush. The letter also was seen as an indication of a perceived conflict of interest by critics. He has responded to the critics by pointing out that the company's election machines division is run out of Texas by a registered Democrat. He also claims the statement about delivering Ohio's electoral votes to Bush was simply a poor choice of words. Nonetheless, he vowed to lower his political profile lest his personal actions harm the company. O'Dell resigned his post of chairman and chief executive of Diebold on December 12, 2005 following reports that the company was facing securities fraud litigation surrounding charges of insider trading.

[edit] Security issues

For more information in the 2004 elections see: 2004 United States presidential election: Specific issues relating to Diebold machines and practices

DES claims its systems provide strong immunity to ballot tampering and other vote rigging attempts. These claims have been challenged, notably by Bev Harris on her website,, and book by the same name. Harris and C. D. Sludge, an Internet journalist, both claim there is also evidence that the Diebold systems have been exploited to tamper with American elections — a claim Harris expands in her book Black Box Voting. Sludge further cites Votewatch for evidence that suggests a pattern of compromised voting machine exploits throughout the 1990s, and specifically involving the Diebold machines in the 2002 election. DES has also come under fire for the recent discovery that the Diebold voting machines do not and did not in 2004 meet the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) error standard.

The controversy regarding electronic voting machines is related to a larger debate concerning the relative merits of open source and proprietary security products. Advocates of the open source model say that systems are more secure when anyone can view the underlying software code, identify bugs and make peer-reviewed changes. Advocates of proprietary systems claim that so-called black box systems are more secure because potential weaknesses are hidden.

Avi Rubin, Professor of Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University and Technical Director of the Information Security Institute has analyzed the source code used in these voting machines and reports "this voting system is far below even the most minimal security standards applicable in other contexts." [5] Following the publication of this paper, the State of Maryland hired Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) to perform another analysis of the Diebold voting machines. SAIC concluded “[t]he system, as implemented in policy, procedure, and technology, is at high risk of compromise.” [6]

The company RABA did a security analysis of the Diebold AccuVote in January 2004 confirming many of the problems found by Avi Rubin and finding some new vulnerabilities.[3]

In June 2005, the Tallahassee Democrat reported that when given access to Diebold vote-counting computers, Bev Harris- a critic of Diebold's voting machines - was able to make 65,000 votes disappear simply by changing the memory card that stores voting results for one that had been altered. Although the machines are supposed to record changes to data stored in the system, they showed no record of tampering after the memory cards were swapped. In response, a spokesperson for the Department of State said that, "Information on a blog site is not viable or credible." [7]

In early 2006 the Diebold Election Systems subsidiary came under considerable fire from alternate media sources for creating voting systems without reasonable auditing, no paper trail, security holes, and software bugs. The attention negatively affected Diebold stock (though elections are only a small part of their business) and triggered investigations in several states after insiders revealed irregular practices in Diebold's election division. Diebold was the first major vendor to experience a serious backlash from poor quality, service and preparation in the election industry, and condemnation of Diebold helped to focus attention on other vendors (ES&S). According to Avi Rubin, the Johns Hopkins University computer science professor who first identified flaws in the technology in 2003, the machines are "much, much easier to attack than anything we've previously said... On a scale of one to 10, if the problems we found before were a six, this is a 10. It's a totally different ballgame." According to Rubin, the system is intentionally designed so that anyone with access can update the machine software, without a pass code or other security protocol. Diebold officials said that although any problem can be avoided by keeping a close watch on the machines, they are developing a fix. [4] Michael I. Shamos, a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University who is a proponent of electronic voting and the examiner of electronic voting systems for Pennsylvania, stated "It's the most severe security flaw ever discovered in a voting system." Douglas W. Jones, a professor of computer science at the University of Iowa, stated "This is the barn door being wide open, while people were arguing over the lock on the front door." Diebold spokesman David Bear decried the seriousness of the situation, asserting that "For there to be a problem here, you're basically assuming a premise where you have some evil and nefarious election officials who would sneak in and introduce a piece of software. I don't believe these evil elections people exist."[5]

On 31 July 2006 the Open Voting Foundation released a press release which explains, with photographs, how to open the case with a screwdriver and alter the boot configuration of the Diebold TS so as to boot from EPROM, on-board flash memory or external flash memory. The implication is that a previously tested and certified machine could be booted using an unauthorised boot profile, and that such a boot profile could be activated with relatively little technical expertise. [6]

On 30. October 2006 researchers from the University of Connecticut demonstrated new vulnerabilities in Diebold AccuVote-OS optical scan voting terminal. The system can be compromised even if its removable memory card is sealed in place.[7]

On November 2, 2006, HBO premiered a documentary entitled "Hacking Democracy", concerning the vulnerability of electronic voting machines (primarily Diebold) to hacking and inaccurate vote totals. The company attempted to block the documentary prior to its broadcast, but was ultimately unsuccessful.

[edit] Technical problems

During the United States general elections of 2006, voters in Florida reported a widespread inability to select their chosen candidate via the voting machines. Several voters complained that they wished to vote for the Democratic candidate, but when they were confirming their choices, their vote had been change to the Republican candidates. However, these incidences occurred during early elections, so it is not clear how problematic the machines will prove to be in the general election. [8]

[edit] States rejecting Diebold

In March 2006, the Maryland House voted to ban Diebold machines from state primary and general elections. Republican governor Robert L. Ehrlich has had heated argument against the use of Diebold equpiment with one of its strongest proponents, Linda Lamone, a Democrat appointee from a previous administration. The Senate still has to pass the bill in order for it to become law, but the proposal highlights concerns that the Diebold machines do not leave a paper trail. The text of the law states that Diebold must equip its touch-screen voting machines to produce paper receipts by the 2008 elections in order to keep its contract with the state. Similar concerns have been voiced in other states, including Florida and California.

In 2004, after an initial investigation into the company's practices by the California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley caused him to issue a ban on one model of Diebold voting machines California, the Attorney General of California, Bill Lockyer, sued Diebold, charging that it had given false information about the security and reliability of Diebold Election Systems machines that were sold to the state. To settle the case, Diebold agreed to pay $2.6 million and to implement certain reforms. [9]

[edit] Leaked memos

In September 2003, a large number of internal Diebold memos, dating back to mid-2001, were posted to the Web by the website organizations Why War? and the Swarthmore Coalition for the Digital Commons, a group of student activists at Swarthmore College. Congressman Kucinich (D-OH) has placed portions of the files on his websites.[10] Diebold's critics believe that these memos reflect badly on Diebold's voting machines and business practices. For example: "Do not to [sic] offer damaging opinions of our systems, even when their failings become obvious."[11] In December 2003, an internal Diebold memo was leaked to the press, sparking controversy in Maryland. Maryland officials requested that Diebold add the functionality of printing voting receipts. The leaked memo said, "As a business, I hope we're smart enough to charge them up the wazoo [for this feature]".

Diebold attempted to stop the publication of these internal memos by sending cease and desist letters to sites hosting these documents, demanding that they be removed. Diebold claimed the memos as their copyrighted material, and asserted that anyone who published the memos online was in violation of the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act provisions of the DMCA found in § 512 of the United States Copyright Act. When it turned out that some of the challenged groups would not back down, Diebold retracted their threat. Those who had been threatened by Diebold then sued for court costs and damages, in OPG v. Diebold. This suit eventually led to a victory for the plaintiffs against Diebold, when in October 2004 Judge Jeremy Fogel ruled that Diebold had abused its copyrights in its efforts to suppress the embarrassing memos.

[edit] Stephen Heller

In January and February of 2004, a whistleblower named Stephen Heller brought to light memos from Jones Day, Diebold's California attorneys, informing Diebold that they were in breach of California law by continuing to use illegal and uncertified software in California voting machines. California Attorney General Bill Lockyer filed civil and criminal suits against the company, which were dropped when Diebold settled out of court for $2.6 million. In February 2006, Heller was charged with three felonies for this action.[12][13]

[edit] Diebold and Kenneth Blackwell

Ohio State Senator Jeff Jacobson, Republican, asked Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell in July, 2003 to disqualify Diebold's bid to supply voting machines for the state, after security problems were discovered in its software [14], but was refused. Blackwell had ordered Diebold touch screen voting machines, reversing an earlier decision by the state to purchase only optical scan voting machines which, unlike the touch screen devices, would leave a "paper trail" for recount purposes. Blackwell was found in April 2006, to own 83 shares of Diebold stock, down from 178 shares purchased in January 2005, which he attributed to an unidentified financial manager at Credit Suisse First Boston who had violated his instructions to avoid potential conflict of interest, without his knowledge. [15] When Cuyahoga county's primary was held on May 2, 2006, officials ordered the hand-counting of more than 18,000 paper ballots after Diebold's new optical scan machines produced inconsistent tabulations, leaving several local races in limbo for days and eventually resulting in a reversal of the outcome of one race for state representative. Blackwell ordered an investigation by the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections; Ohio Democrats demanded that Blackwell, who is also the Republican gubernatorial candidate in this election, recuse himself from the investigation due to conflicts of interest, but Blackwell has not done so.[16]
The Republican head of the Franklin County Board of Elections, Matt Damschroder, said a Diebold contractor came to him and bragged of a $50,000 check he had written to Blackwell’s "political interests." [17].
State finance records indicate Kenneth Blackwell has received a total of $40,000 in funds during his 2006 gubernatorial race from Diebold's only two registered lobbyists, Jonathan Hughes and Mitch Given and their wives. The donations were coordinated with the two pairs occurring on the same dates.


1. ^ Official Diebold site Rage against the machine: Diebold struggles to bounce back from the controversy surrounding its voting machines (Fortune, 3. November 2006)
2. ^ Kimball Brace (2004). "Overview of Voting Equipment Usage in United States, Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) Voting". Election Data Services. Retrieved on 2006-05-11.
3. ^ Trusted Agent Report Diebold AccuVote-TS Voting System, RABA Innovative Solution Cell (RiSC)
4. ^ Experts see new Diebold flaw: They call it worst security glitch to date in state's voting machines and a 'big deal', May 12, 2006
5. ^ New Fears of Security Risks in Electronic Voting Systems New York Times, May 12, 2006. Also see Security Focus in depth four page report.
6. ^ The Open Voting Foundation press release 31 July 2006
7. ^ Security Assessment of the Diebold Optical Scan Voting Terminal (UConn VoTeR Center and Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Connecticut, October 30. 2006)
8. ^ Glitches cited in early voting
9. ^ Diebold to Settle with California
10. ^ "Kucinich Calls for Suspension of Electronic Voting", Common Dreams, April 23, 2004.
11. ^ Diebold Election Systems, "Elecion Support Guide", Revision 1.0 (October 21, 2002), p. 10.
12. ^ Whistle-Blower or Thief in Diebold Case? Stephen Heller's alleged theft of papers about the firm's electronic voting machines spurs praise and scorn as he faces felony charges. Los Angeles Times Mar 18, 2006
13. ^ E-vote case puts actor in limelight
14. ^ US-CERT Cyber Security Bulletin SB04-252 Summary of Security Items from September 1 through September 7, 2004
15. ^ Blackwell reports embarrassing buy of Diebold stock Rivals pounce on controversy over accidental share purchase Cleveland Plain Dealer, April 4, 2006
16. ^ Democrats want Blackwell to remove himself from election probe Canton Repository, May 9, 2006
17. ^ Vendor’s donation questioned Columbus Dispatch, July 16, 2005

10:06 PM  
Blogger Management said...

Workers accused of fudging '04 recount
Prosecutor says Cuyahoga skirted rules
April 06, 2006

Joan Mazzolini, Cleveland Plain Dealer

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After the 2004 presidential election, Cuyahoga County election workers secretly skirted rules designed to make sure all votes were counted correctly, a special prosecutor charges.

While there is no evidence of vote fraud, the prosecutor said their efforts were aimed at avoiding an expensive - and very public - hand recount of all votes cast. Three top county elections officials have been indicted, and Erie County Prosecutor Kevin Baxter says more indictments are possible.

Michael Vu, executive director of the Cuyahoga County elections board, said workers followed procedures that had been in place for 23 years. He said board employees had no objection to doing an exhaustive hand count if needed, meaning they had no motive to break the law.

Internet bloggers have cried foul since 2004 about election results in Ohio, one of the key states in deciding the election. They have been tracking Baxter's investigation with online posts about the indictments.

Baxter's prosecution centers on Ohio's safeguards for ensuring that every vote is counted.

Baxter charges that Cuyahoga election workers - mindful of the monthlong Florida recount in 2000 - not only ignored the safeguards but worked to defeat them during Ohio's 2004 recount.

Candidates for president from the Green and Libertarian parties requested the Ohio recount. State laws and regulations specify how a recount works.

Election workers in each county are supposed to count 3 percent of the ballots by hand and by machine, randomly choosing precincts for that count.

If the hand and machine counts match, the other 97 percent of the votes are recounted by machine. If the numbers don't match, workers repeat the effort. If they still don't match exactly, the workers must complete the recount by hand, a tedious process that could take weeks and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

But the fix was in at the Cuyahoga elections board, Baxter charges.

Days before the Dec. 16 recount, workers opened the ballots and hand-counted enough votes to identify precincts where the machine count matched.

"If it didn't balance, they excluded those precincts," Baxter said.

"The preselection process was done outside of any witnesses, without anyone's knowledge except for [people at] the Board of Elections."

On the official recount day, employees pretended to pick precincts randomly, Baxter says. Dozens of Cuyahoga County election workers sat at 20 folding tables in front of dozens of witnesses and reporters.

They did the hand and machine count of 3 percent of the votes 34 of the 1,436 precincts and when the totals matched, the recount was completed by machines.

The recount gave Kerry 17 extra votes and took six away from Bush.

But observers suspected that the precincts were not randomly chosen and asked a board worker about it, said Toledo attorney Richard Kerger. The worker acknowledged that there had been a precount.

Kerger wrote a letter to Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason, complaining and asking for an investigation. Mason recused himself, and Baxter was appointed special prosecutor. He brought elections workers before a grand jury to find out what happened.

"They screwed with the process and increased the probability, if not the certainty, that there would not be a full countywide hand count," Baxter said.

Everyone expected the recount to "be conducted in accordance of the law," he said.

Vu said the precincts were chosen as they had been in the past, by a Democrat and a Republican in the ballot department.

Because of Baxter's investigation, Vu declined to comment on whether the board's longtime procedures involve precounting precincts before the recount.

Vu acknowledged that the selection of precincts was not completely random because precincts with 550 votes or fewer were not used.

Nor were precincts counted where the number of ballots handed out on Election Day failed to match the number of ballots cast.

Vu said the board also had asked for legal opinions from the prosecutor's office before and after the election to ensure all rules were followed.

Kathleen Martin, who headed the civil division at the prosecutor's office and worked with the board on the issues, has since died.

"If Kathleen Martin was still alive, she could put so much light on this," Vu said.

Regardless, he said, the board was prepared for a full hand recount.

"Why do all that work to prepare for the election, conduct it, audit it, canvass and then not meet this last obligation?" Vu said.

"Our plan was to regroup after Christmas and just work through it."

Baxter has said he can't understand why the three people indicted all managers - continue to work at the election office. None has the same duties they had in 2004.

Kathleen Dreamer was manager of the board's ballot department. Rosie Grier was assistant manager. Jacqueline Maiden was Elections Division director and its third-highest-ranking employee. All have been charged with misdemeanor and felony counts of failing to follow the state elections law.

A May 8 trial date is set for Dreamer and Grier, but Baxter wants to combine all three cases, including Maiden's, who was indicted later.

Kerger said he was surprised by the charges.

"We wrote, not to have any criminal charges, but just to find out what happened," he said. "The special prosecutor has the ability to conduct an investigation and not file any charges."

Kerger said he believes there are two reasons, generally, why an elections board would precount before a recount. The first is to change the results of the vote, which he does not believe happened.

The second, he speculated, was that "the workers were so tired and didn't want to hassle with doing a hand recount."

10:06 PM  
Blogger Management said...

Election workers in each county are supposed to count 3 percent of the ballots by hand and by machine, randomly choosing precincts for that count.

If the hand and machine counts match, the other 97 percent of the votes are recounted by machine. If the numbers don't match, workers repeat the effort. If they still don't match exactly, the workers must complete the recount by hand, a tedious process that could take weeks and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Days before the Dec. 16 recount, workers opened the ballots and hand-counted enough votes to identify precincts where the machine count matched.

"If it didn't balance, they excluded those precincts," Baxter said.

"The preselection process was done outside of any witnesses, without anyone's knowledge except for [people at] the Board of Elections."

On the official recount day, employees pretended to pick precincts randomly, Baxter says. Dozens of Cuyahoga County election workers sat at 20 folding tables in front of dozens of witnesses and reporters.
----end quotes

Now the fact is, we don't know how a real recount would have affected the election. The people involved in this case are intentionally avoiding the subject. In fact, several Diggers have vehemently denied that it affected the election by quoting this bit: "Special prosecutor Kevin Baxter did not claim the workers’ actions affected the outcome of the election - Kerry gained 17 votes and Bush lost six in the county’s recount." In reality, this phrasing indicates exactly what it says--they aren't saying that it affected the election--but they aren't saying that it didn't, either. We'll never know. They chose not to perform a real recount, instead selecting counties they knew would result in a standard machine recount rather than a hand recount. This guaranteed Bush the votes, whereas had a real recount occurred, that might have changed.

But again, it's not a partisan issue. The issue is that they broke the law, subverted the election process, and made it impossible to know who the true winner was. Their intentions (whether it was an attempt to hand the election over to Bush, as some claim, or more simply, an effort to save taxpayer dollars) are irrelevant.

10:07 PM  
Blogger Management said...

Ohio election workers convicted of rigging ’04 presidential recount
By Associated Press
Wednesday, January 24, 2007 - Updated: Jan 26, 2007 05:25 AM EST

CLEVELAND - Two election workers were convicted Wednesday of rigging a recount of the 2004 presidential election to avoid a more thorough review in Ohio’s most populous county.
Jacqueline Maiden, elections coordinator of the Cuyahoga County Elections Board, and ballot manager Kathleen Dreamer each were convicted of a felony count of negligent misconduct of an elections employee. They also were convicted of one misdemeanor count each of failure of elections employees to perform their duty.
Prosecutors accused Maiden and Dreamer of secretly reviewing preselected ballots before a public recount on Dec. 16, 2004. They worked behind closed doors for three days to pick ballots they knew would not cause discrepancies when checked by hand, prosecutors said.

Defense attorney Roger Synenberg has said the workers were following procedures as they understood them.
Ohio gave President Bush the electoral votes he needed to defeat Democratic Sen. John Kerry in the close election and hold on to the White House in 2004.
Special prosecutor Kevin Baxter did not claim the workers’ actions affected the outcome of the election - Kerry gained 17 votes and Bush lost six in the county’s recount.
Maiden and Dreamer, who still work for the elections board, face a possible sentence of six to 18 months for the felony conviction. Sentencing is on Feb. 26.
A message left for Elections Board Director Michael Vu was not immediately returned Wednesday. The board released a statement that said its goal is to restore confidence in the county’s election progress and pursue reforms in addition to those made since 2004.

10:07 PM  
Blogger Management said...

Ohio county presidential recount rigged to avoid work, prosecutor says

By M.R. Kropko, Associated Press | January 19, 2007

CLEVELAND -- Three county elections workers conspired to avoid a more thorough recount of ballots in the 2004 presidential election, a prosecutor told jurors during opening statements yesterday.

"The evidence will show that this recount was rigged, maybe not for political reasons, but rigged nonetheless," Prosecutor Kevin Baxter said. "They did this so they could spend a day rather than weeks or months" on the recount, he said.

Jacqueline Maiden, the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections coordinator, faces six counts of misconduct over how the ballots were reviewed. Rosie Grier, manager of the board's ballot department, and Kathleen Dreamer, an assistant manager, face the same charges.

Defense lawyers said in their opening statements that the workers in Ohio's most populous county did nothing out of the ordinary and hid nothing from the public.

"They just were doing it the way they were always doing it," said Roger Synenberg, who represents Dreamer.

The workers are not accused of voter fraud but of purposely breaking the law to avoid a time-consuming and expensive hand count.

Prosecutors do not allege that the defendants affected the outcome of the presidential election, which President Bush would not have won without Ohio.

The recount, requested by third-party candidates, showed the Republican incumbent beat Senator John Kerry, the Democratic nominee, by about 118,000 votes of 5.5 million cast.

Ohio law states that during a recount each county is supposed to randomly choose 3 percent of its ballots and tally them by hand and by machine.

If there are no discrepancies in those counts, the rest of the votes can be recounted by machine.

If there is a difference, the county must randomly recount 3 percent of the ballots a second time. All the county's ballots must be recounted by hand if there is a second discrepancy, but if there isn't, all the ballots can be recounted by machine.

Baxter said testimony in the case will show that instead of conducting a random count, the workers chose sample precincts for the Dec. 16, 2004, recount that did not have questionable results to ensure that no discrepancies would emerge.

In Cuyahoga, a Democratic stronghold where about 600,000 ballots were cast, the recount had little effect on the results. Kerry gained 17 votes and Bush lost six.

It's unlikely another recount would be ordered because of the court case, which voting rights advocates have used as an example of flaws with the state's recount laws.

There were allegations in several counties of similar presorting of ballots for the recounts that state law says are to be random.

10:10 PM  

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