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Shared machines at adjoining precincts caused voter problems

Associated Press    10 December 2004

CLEVELAND - Voters using the wrong machines in adjoining precincts at the same location apparently caused voting aberrations in 17 of 1,458 Cuyahoga County precincts, The Plain Dealer reported Friday.

The paper said its review of voting patterns countywide in Cleveland and its suburbs showed aberrations including a Democratic precinct in which Democrat John Kerry got 334 votes and Libertarian Michael Badnarik got 164. In the adjacent precinct, also at Benedictine High School, Kerry got 299 votes and Constitution Party candidate Michael Peroutka got 215 votes.

Together, Peroutka and Badnarik got about 0.5 percent of the vote countywide.

The paper said unusual spurts in the Peroutka and Badnarik totals apparently resulted from people in one precinct casting ballots just steps away at machines meant for another precinct. The rotating positions of candidate names on ballots meant people going to the adjoining precinct had their votes counted for another candidate, the paper said.

There was no way to tell whether Kerry's or President Bush's totals were affected, the paper said. Kerry beat Bush 448,486 votes to 221,606 votes countywide, but lost Ohio by about 119,000 votes out of 5.6 million cast.

Katie Daley, an observer for the Democratic Party who spent Election Day at Benedictine, said voters waiting to cast ballots formed a single line between adjoining precincts and approached booths as they became available, without regard to precinct assignment.

Michael Vu, Cuyahoga County's election director, said the findings would be investigated, and said they showed the need for more poll worker training.


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