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Activists Drop a Challenge to Bush's Ohio Victory
Published on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 by the Cleveland Plain Dealer (Ohio)
Activists Drop a Challenge to Bush's Ohio Victory
by T.C. Brown

COLUMBUS - A coalition of activists dropped its legal challenge Tuesday in the Ohio Supreme Court over the president's re-election, but the group is not giving up.

In a paragraph-long request, the group of 40 grass-roots plaintiffs asked justices to dismiss their case, in which they had alleged that numerous voting machine errors, irregularities and intentional fraud by the George W. Bush campaign skewed the results in favor of the president.

The court is expected to grant the motion soon to dismiss the matter.

Coalition attorney Cliff Arnebeck said the effort had been derailed by the refusal of members of the Bush-Cheney campaign and Republican Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell to submit to sworn depositions.

"It is not a fruitful forum or endeavor at this point in time, given the fact that the other parties refused to cooperate," Arnebeck said. "There are other productive avenues which we can continue to pursue."

Arnebeck also faulted the Supreme Court for not acting more quickly on its legal challenge.

"The court should have knocked heads and said, 'Let's get to the merits at the earliest possible time because of the importance of the matter and the shortness of time,' " Arnebeck said.

Congress certified the vote of the Electoral College last week.

The group is considering filing a lawsuit in federal court alleging civil rights violations or seeking to intervene in a federal suit filed by the Green and Libertarian parties.

"It's not over," Arnebeck said.

Carlo LoParo, Blackwell's spokesman, said the group never presented a shred of clear evidence to prove that voting irregularities would have altered the election results.

"Mr. Arnebeck and his colleagues have saved themselves from further discredit by withdrawing this filing from the Ohio Supreme Court," LoParo said. "That document was frivolous and not based in reality and now will take its place on the dustbin of history."

Besides presenting accusations of fraud and irregularities, plaintiffs said that significant deviations from exit polling done by an international expert should have been enough evidence for the Supreme Court to accept the challenge and revisit the vote.

A recount showed that Bush topped Sen. John Kerry in Ohio by 118,599 votes.

The group also asked the high court to dismiss its challenge of the re-election of Republican Chief Justice Thomas Moyer over his Democratic challenger, C. Ellen Connally, a retired Cleveland Municipal Court judge.

© 2005 The Plain Dealer


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