Questions from 2004 primary voting require ballot examination
Jan 13 2006
(AP) Lingering questions about the 2004 primary election in Arizona's District 20 can only be answered by examining the ballots, an expert's report concluded.
The report's release does nothing to end the controversy over the election, where a recount in the race between Republicans John McComish and Anton Orlich led to the discovery of nearly 500 additional votes and a changed outcome.
The report by a University of Iowa professor says the only way to settle alternative hypotheses that ballots were altered or miscounted by the machines is to look at the ballots themselves.
It also recommends changes in how Maricopa County instructs voters in ballot marking, that voting machines be tested before each election and found no evidence of software error or wear and tear on ballots that affected the vote count. Such shortfalls in procedures are not uncommon, Douglas Jones wrote in the report.
The review was to be paid for by the alternative newspaper New Times, after being commissioned by Sen. Jack Harper, R-Sun City West.
The use of the newspaper's money to pay for the inquiry led to threats of an ethics complaint against Harper by Sen. Bill Brotherton, D-Phoenix, who contends Harper used his subpoena power to provide an exclusive story for New Times.
Harper said the report's conclusion that fraud can't be ruled out is disturbing and that he may file a lawsuit seeking access to the ballots. He also said an outside group has offered to pay for it.
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