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Internet buzz on vote fraud is dismissed

Page 2 of 3 -- Most of the focus has been on results in Ohio and Florida, since if either of those states had gone for Kerry instead of Bush, the Massachusetts senator would be president-elect. Early exit polls in both states indicated that Kerry was track to win, and in each state voting and counting irregularities in numerous places have been reported. ''Fraud took place in the 2004 election," declares the team at, one popular website that is compiling reports of election problems.

''Kerry won. Here are the facts," reads the headline on a widely circulated article written by the author of a scathing book on the Bush family.

Another site suggests Kerry is refusing to contest the election because fellow members of the Yale secret society Skull and Bones forbade him to do so.

After one e-mailer erroneously suggested that Kerry's brother, Cameron, was compiling reports of voting problems, Cameron Kerry's e-mail inbox was inundated with hundreds of messages, received at the pace of several per minute through yesterday. He sent out a stock response saying ''we are not ignoring" the reports, asking that they be forwarded to the Democratic National Committee instead of his e-mail address at his Boston law firm.

Though Corrigan said all allegations will be investigated by the Democratic legal team, he added that it has become clear that 2004 was no repeat of 2000. That year, an abbreviated Florida recount resulted in a 537-vote margin of victory for Bush, and many Democrats believe a full and impartial recount would have handed the election to Democrat Al Gore.

This year, the race wasn't nearly as close in the states that hung in the balance. According to preliminary results from last week's election, Bush carried Florida by 380,000 votes, and Ohio by 136,000. Corrigan said Democrats won't push for hand recounts this year, because they wouldn't change the results, a point backed by election specialists.

''I think it's safe to say that on the votes that were cast in Ohio, Bush won," said Dan Tokaji, a law professor at Ohio State University who is working with the ACLU to challenge Ohio's use of punch-card ballots. ''If the margin had been 36,000 rather than 136,000, we would have seen another post-election meltdown."

The apparent computer glitch that awarded Bush an extra 3,893 votes in Gahanna, Ohio, was quickly caught and won't be in the final certified numbers. The 76,000 punch cards across the state where no vote for president was recorded include ballots cast by people who chose not to vote for the top office, as well as those who mistakenly chose more than one candidate. That group, of course, includes voters who intended to support Bush as well as those who meant to support Kerry.   Continued...

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