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Cobb Asks Federal Court, Expedite Ohio Recount

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 22nd, 2004

Cobb / Badnarik File Today for Federal Court Order

Seek to Expedite 'Full Hand Count' before Dec 13 Electors Meeting

Plaintiffs Include Individual Ohio Voters, Green Party and Libertarian Candidates; Effort Is Endorsed by Common Cause

Attorneys for Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb and Libertarian Michael Badnarik will jointly file a lawsuit today against Ohio Secretary of State Blackwell and 88 county electoral directors to expedite an immediate recount of the presidential vote in all Ohio counties. The ultimate goal of the lawsuit is to ensure a full and accurate count of all votes and to protect and` restore the` integrity of` the` electoral process.

Ohio Secretary of State Blackwell's denial of their formal request on Friday has led attorneys for the candidates to take legal action to compel an immediate recount.

The candidates have expressed deep concern that the timetable laid out by Blackwell would not provide sufficient time for the counties to recount all 5.5 million votes in the state by hand before the state=E2=80=99s presid= ential electors meet on December 13. They have also requested that Blackwell, a Republican who served as a Chair of the Bush campaign in Ohio, recuse himself from the recount process.

The Ohio Secretary of State's office has said that certification of the vote would occur around December 6. With five days required for notice to candidates, that would permit only 48 hours for a full recount prior to the December 13 electors meeting. Letters filed by the candidates last week say that "{s}uch a timeframe will not allow for a meaningful recount and will undermine our clients' rights under applicable law, including Ohio recount law."

"Nothing could be more important to our country than ensuring the results of the Ohio presidential election are accurate and complete. Our faith and trust in the democratic process, all hinge on a fair, unbiased and transparent counting of ballots in Ohio," said Cobb.

A November 17th Cobb-Badnarik letter said that the lack of a meaningful recount will violate Ohio recount law, as well as, "the rights under federal and state constitutional and statutory law of all Ohio citizens who cast a ballot for President on Election Day. Immediate action is necessary so that the recount procedures may begin as soon as possible."

"This is consistent with our standing up for the right to vote and for each vote to be counted. What's the point of having a recount if it won't be completed in time? Everyone knows what happened in Florida in 2000 and no one wants to see that happen again," said Blair Bobier, Media Director for the Cobb-LaMarche campaign.

The formal demand for a recount in Ohio was filed on November 19, along with a bond for $113,600 to cover the cost of $10 per precinct needed to request a recount. This money was raised in four days thanks to thousands of donors from around the nation.

-- 30 --

For more information,


visit the campaign website:

http://www.votecobb.org

BACKGROUND

Cobb and Badnarik are represented by John Bonifaz, General Counsel of the National Voting Rights Institute, and Ohio attorney Nancy Holland Myers. The Cobb-LaMarche campaign is now in the process of recruiting volunteers and raising funds for monitoring the actual recount process.

*****************

Ohio Timetable

Problem In Brief

Ohio law clearly provides for a recount of all ballots in close and contested elections, yet the timetable laid out by Secretary of State Blackwell provides possibly no more than 48 hours to recount 5.5 million ballots undermining the spirit of the state law and of the Constitution.

Here's how: Ohio law allows candidates to ask for a recount in a Presidential election only after the Secretary of State certifies the results. While electors are required to meet and cast their ballots on December 13, the Secretary of State has laid out a timetable under which he does not have to certify results until December 11 a mere 48 hours before the electors have to meet.

If there is to be a recount "in keeping with the letter and the spirit of Ohio law" then the Secretary of State and the county boards must expedite the process so that a recount can occur early enough to actually count the votes prior to December 13. In his November 19 letter, Secretary of State Blackwell indicates he will "endeavor" to certify results on or before December 6th if it proves feasible. Even this timetable if the Secretary of State were to adhere to it is not sufficient to permit a full and fair recount by hand of 5.5 million votes. The plaintiffs are therefore asking a federal district court to order the Secretary of State and the county boards to expedite the process even further to enable a recount of the votes before the electors are scheduled to meet.

http://biko.greens.org/media/pr-CobbFilesFedSuitExpediteRecount.pdf

ENDS


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