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Lawyers documenting voting problems say they'll challenge election

Associated Press   19 November 2004

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Lawyers who have been documenting voting day problems in Ohio say they'll challenge the results of the presidential election as soon as the vote is official.

The lawyers say documented cases of long lines, a shortage of machines and a pattern of problems in predominantly black neighborhoods are enough evidence to bring such a challenge.

"The objective is to get to the truth," said Cliff Arnebeck, a lawyer who said he'll represent voters who cast ballots Nov. 2. Arnebeck said the effort is bipartisan.

"What's critically important, whether it's President Bush or Sen. Kerry, whoever's been actually elected, is to know you won by an honest election," he said. "So it's in the interest of both sides as American citizens to know the truth and to have this answered."

More than 200 people in Columbus voiced their complaints Nov. 13 about voting problems on Election Day, some accusing the state of voter suppression. Many were Kerry supporters.

The hearing was organized by Robert Fitrakis, a lawyer and political science professor at Columbus State Community College, who is also involved in filing the challenge.

Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell will certify the election results by Dec. 6, spokesman Carlo LoParo said Friday.

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