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Ohio Presidential Tally Is Challenged

20 Electors Cast Crucial Bush Votes

Associated Press
Tuesday, December 14, 2004; Page A09

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Dec. 13 -- The Ohio delegation to the electoral college cast its votes for President Bush on Monday, hours after dissident groups asked the state Supreme Court to review the outcome of the state's presidential race.

As members of the electoral college met across the nation to affirm the results of last month's election, the 20 GOP electors in Ohio voted unanimously for Bush and Vice President Cheney.

Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner (D), left, jokes with Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) before the meeting of the state's electoral college in Richmond. (Steve Helber -- AP)

"The vast majority of people understand this election is over," said Gov. Bob Taft (R), who was at the electors' voting session in the state Senate chamber.

The challengers who went to the Supreme Court question whether Bush won the key swing state by 119,000 votes, guaranteeing his victory over Democrat John F. Kerry. The court did not act before the electors cast their ballots.

Jesse L. Jackson said the challengers noticed that Bush generally received more votes in counties that use optical-scan voting machines and questioned whether the machines were calibrated to record votes for Bush. The dissidents say there were disparities in vote totals for Democrats, too few voting machines in Democratic-leaning precincts, organized campaigns directing voters to the wrong polling place and confusion over the counting of provisional ballots by voters whose names did not appear in the records at polling places.

If the court decides to hear the challenge, it can declare a new winner or throw out the results.

Congressional Democrats asked the governor in a letter to delay the electoral vote or consider the results unofficial until the disputes are resolved. They were rebuffed.

"The vote is required to move forward by law, and it will move forward," Taft spokesman Orest Holubec said.

Elsewhere, a Democrat earned a footnote in history by casting one of Minnesota's 10 electoral college votes for John Edwards, Kerry's running mate.

Several electors said they suspected someone unconsciously mixed up the two Johns on the ticket. "I'm certainly glad that the electoral college is not separated by one vote," elector Michael Meuers said.

Congress announces nationwide totals in January.

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