27 December 2004

Ohio Official Refuses Interview Over Vote

Andrew Welsh-Huggins - December 27, 2004

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell has requested a protective order to prevent him from being interviewed as part of an unusual court challenge of the presidential vote.

Blackwell, in a court filing, says he's not required to be interviewed by lawyers as a high-ranking public official, and accused the voters challenging the results of ``frivolous conduct'' and abusive and unnecessary requests of elections officials around the state.

Citing fraud, 37 people who voted for president Nov. 2 have challenged the election results with the Ohio Supreme Court. The voters refer to irregularities including long lines, a shortage of voting machines in minority precincts and problems with computer equipment.

President Bush defeated John Kerry by 119,000 votes, according to the official count by Blackwell. Ohio's 20 electoral votes gave Bush the 270 he needed for victory. Kerry conceded the morning after Election Day.

The challenge, with support from the Rev. Jesse Jackson, is based on comparison of reports of exit polling data with the official vote. Columbus lawyer Cliff Arnebeck and other lawyers on the case say they would like to see the supporting data that produced the exit poll results.


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