Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader, who lost by about 335,000 votes in New Hampshire, has asked the state for a recount.
No, the longtime consumer advocate is not hoping to change last week's outcome in the Granite State, where Democrat John F. Kerry was the winner. Rather, he said, he is concerned about the veracity of the results.
"We have received reports of irregularities in the vote reported on the AccuVote Diebold Machines in comparison to exit polls and trends in voting in New Hampshire," Nader wrote Secretary of State William M. Gardner. "These irregularities favor President George W. Bush by 5% to 15% over what was expected."
New Hampshire uses Diebold machines at 132 polling places. Gardner's office received Nader's fax at 4:59 p.m. Friday, one minute before the deadline. Under state law, if a candidate requesting a recount finished more than three percentage points behind, he must pay for the process. Gardner said that if the Nader campaign sends a check for $2,000 and promises to pay any additional charges, he will round up the ballots and initiate a hand count.
Spokesman Kevin Zeese said Nader was planning to send the check yesterday. "Either it will allay people's fears about the results, or it will open the door to looking at other states," Zeese said.
A More Representative Hill
Along with increasing the GOP majorities in the U.S. House and Senate, the election also is making the next Congress a tad more representative of the nation as a whole. When the 109th Congress convenes early next year, it will be slightly more diverse, with more African Americans, Hispanics and women. But proportionately their numbers will continue to lag far behind those of the general population.
Sen.-elect Barack Obama (D-Ill.), the most celebrated member of the new class, will become the first black senator since Carol Moseley Braun (D-Ill.) left in 1999. He will be only the fifth African American to ever serve in the Senate. Colorado Democrat Ken Salazar and Mel R. Martinez, a Republican from Florida, will be the Senate's only Hispanic members. Only three Latinos had served in the Senate, the last in the mid-1970s. All were from New Mexico.
Salazar will succeed the chamber's only American Indian, Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R), who is retiring after two terms. Sens. Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii) and Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii) will continue to be the only Asian Americans. The number of women in the Senate will remained unchanged at 14.
Five more women were elected to the House last week, bringing their total next year to at least 68, according to a survey by Congressional Quarterly. That number could still grow, depending on a runoff election in Louisiana.
The number of African Americans in the House will increase by three, bringing the total to 42. The election added one more Latino to the House, while the number of American Indians will shrink to one, with the departure of Rep. Brad Carson (D-Okla.). The number of Asian Americans will remain unchanged, while Bobby Jindal, a former Bush administration official who was elected in Louisiana, will become the House's only Asian Indian American.