Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Bush campaign asks for Ohio election case to be tossed


Bush campaign asks for election case to be tossed

Wednesday, Jan 05, 2005,Page 7

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US President George W. Bush's re-election campaign asked the chief justice of the Ohio Supreme Court to throw out a challenge of the election in this swing state, saying the case resembles "a poorly drafted script for a late night conspiracy-theory movie."

The court filing was made Monday as the Reverend Jesse Jackson held a rally before hundreds of people in Columbus to support the challenge and urge the US Senate to debate Ohio's results tomorrow when Congress is in joint session for the official tally of the electoral votes.

Thirty-seven Ohio voters who filed the challenge are asking Chief Justice Thomas Moyer to set aside the election results. Some of the voters are suspicious of Bush's victory over Senator John Kerry, while others say hours-long waits in heavily black neighborhoods caused voters to leave in frustration without casting a ballot.

"In 2000, if Al Gore had just held on and fought to the bitter end, he would have been president," said Mark Lomax, a black Columbus musician challenging the vote. "I kind of have the same feeling now -- whether or not you like John Kerry, that's not the issue. It's just that your vote counts."

Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell said there's no reason to prolong the election.

"Jesse Jackson can complain, grandstand, whine, stamp his feet all he wants," Blackwell spokesman Carlo LoParo said. "It's not going to change the results of Ohio's election or how voters cast their ballots on Nov. 2."

The Bush campaign echoed those sentiments in the filing, saying the challenge falls "far short of a legitimate election contest."