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Thursday, January 25, 2007
What went wrong in Ohio?
In the underreported story of the last 24 hours, two highly placed Ohio election officials in the crucial 2004 state's most populous county were convicted of "rigging a recount of the 2004 presidential election to avoid a more thorough review." This was one of the longer stories available, four or five times longer than the Times'. The officials "worked behind closed doors for three days to pick ballots they knew would not cause discrepancies when checked by hand, prosecutors said," thereby avoiding a machine recount or a hand count of all votes in the county.
The resulting change seems not to have altered the results of the election, though of course no one can say what a county-wide recount would have yielded, since they were hand-picking ballots. It seems safe to say that that wouldn't have made any difference, either, since Bush's margin of victory in Ohio was over 100,000 votes. Nevertheless, this represents a gross violation, and one that unfortunately is so unsurprising to newspaper editors and the country that it merits only a short AP story.