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Alleged voting incidents by state

Voting errors tallied nationwide

Page 3 of 4 -- In South Florida's Broward County, ''multiple misrecordings" occurred when votes for Kerry on touch-screens made by Election Systems & Software Inc. appeared as Bush votes, and there was at least one account of a Bush vote going to Kerry, the Verified Voting group reported. Broward voters discovered the problem on screens that allowed them to check their selections before entering them electronically.

The long list of documented problems has fueled the suspicions of conspiracy theorists, activists, and the minor presidential candidates who requested the New Hampshire and Ohio recounts.

Ohio decided the 2004 contest, but since the 2000 election, Florida remains the focus of the doubters and the devotees of various scenarios that suggest skullduggery, in part because early exit polls overstated Kerry's strength.

No group has been more aggressive than Seattle-based Black Box Voting, which bills itself as ''consumer protection for elections." Led by founder Bev Harris, the organization is seeking election records from around the country for audits of the results. The primary focus is Florida, where internal computer records have been requested in all 67 counties, and the results in glitch-plagued Volusia County, in the east-central part of the state, are being contested.

Four years ago, during vote-counting on election night, a faulty memory card initially deducted 16,022 votes from Democrat Al Gore's vote total in Volusia. Despite spending about $300,000 to upgrade equipment and avert a repeat, there were memory card problems this year in tabulators for six Volusia precincts. The optically-scanned paper ballots were re-fed into other counting machines to reach an accurate tally, a county election official said.

''All day long, I get desperate calls from people who are in so much pain," said Harris, the Black Box founder, who said she is convinced fraud occurred in some places Nov. 2. ''They say: Can you fix it? Can you solve it? Can you turn around the presidential election? We're not trying to turn the election around. We're trying to get elections to be more transparent, because with the new machines, it's not transparent."

Deanie Lowe, Volusia's supervisor of elections, said she has complied with Harris's record requests and offered to recount, free of charge, any three of Volusia's 179 precincts selected by Harris.

Harris, however, said records for all precincts were not turned over, and Black Box will seek a 50-precinct recount in the county, which Kerry won but by a smaller margin than Gore did in 2000.

Much of the postelection focus on Florida resulted from a pair of analyses that claimed Bush's vote totals in the state were inflated by two vote-counting technologies.

The first analysis originated on the Web and cited results in rural, overwhelmingly Democratic counties in Florida's panhandle, where Bush crushed Kerry. All use optical scanners. What the analysis failed to note is that Bush routed Gore by nearly equal margins four years ago in the same conservative counties that have been tilting Republican for years in national elections. A team of Miami Herald reporters reviewed 17,000 ballots in three of the counties, basically confirming the election results.   Continued...

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