11 January 2008

Kucinich seeks recount in New Hampshire

It's an absurd headline on its face since Dennis Kucinich got only 1% of the vote.

You, no doubt, are asking, "Why is the bozo blogger leading with such a ridiculous story when there's so many other things to talk about today."

True enough.

I could be taking about how John McCain - fresh off his win in New Hampshire- has taken the lead nationally over Rudy Giuliani on the GOP side.

Or, I could write about how McCain has vaulted ahead of Giuliani in Rudy's must-win state - Florida- and has caught him in on his home turf in New York.

I could be talking about how Giuliani apparently won't be able to pay the higher-ups in his campaign this month.

Or I could be talking about how the Clintons spent a good deal of their day trying to smooth over their relations with African-American leaders as the campaign moves into states where black people actually live.

I might even mention how one of those leaders is threatening to end his neutrality and back Barack Obama because of some comments made by Hillary Clinton that he didn't like.

I might even mention that Obama did receive the endorsement today of Arizona's governor, Janet Napolitano, which could help him in Nevada and should help him in Arizona.

But I choose instead to focus on Kucinich's call for a recount.

My intial reaction is that Kucinich, who has always been a little on the oddball side, is just seeking publicity. Having covered him when he was mayor of Cleveland in the late 70s I can say there is probably a little bit truth to that notion.

But in making his request for a recount in New Hampshire, Kucinich raises some very good questions - questions which were prompted by the failure of not only the pre-election polls but also the exit polls, which have a long history of precision.

Exit polls have been used for decades not only so news networks in the U.S. can tell you who won before the polls close, but also as a gauge of the fairness of elections in places around the globe where elections are often not on the up-and-up. If the final results stray too far from the exit polls, the international watchdogs on the scene (usually Jimmy Carter) call the results into question.

At the heart of Kucinich's concerns are "unexplained disparities between hand-counted ballots and machine-counted ballots," Kucinich wrote in a letter to state election officials which is posted on his Web site.

"I am not making this request in the expectation that a recount will significantly affect the number of votes that were cast on my behalf. But, serious and credible reports, allegations, and rumors have surfaced in the past few days…It is imperative that these questions be addressed in the interest of public confidence in the integrity of the election process and the election machinery – not just in New Hampshire, but in every other state that conducts a primary election.” --Kucinich in his letter to New Hampshire Attorney General William Gardner

The events of Tuesday night in New Hampshire were very much like a replay of Election Night in 2004.

Anyone surfing the net and watching the cable talk shows in the late afternoon and just prior to the closing of the polls in East was expecting a somewhat early night back in 2004, with exit polls showing John Kerry winning virtually all of the six or seven battleground states.

Seven years - and one war - later we all know that was not what happened when the votes were counted.

The New Hampshire experience was very much the same, with the TV pundits perplexed all night that Obama wasn't overtaking Clinton as the vote tallies grew larger.

Just as there were questions about the accuracy of electronic voting machines in 2004, those same questions are being raised about New Hampshire. It was not only the pre-election polls, but also exit polls, that indicated Obama would have a big night.

Frustrated and disappointed Democrats across the nation raised questions of a stolen election in 2004.

All Kucinich want's to know - and what we all should want to know - is were those electronic voting machines fixed, or do they just need fixing? Or is the concern about the machines a lot of bluster about nothing?

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