Friday, December 17, 2004
Green Calls for Vote Compromise
By Andy Lenderman
Journal Politics Writer
A statewide presidential recount remained in limbo on Thursday, but at least one of those pushing for the recount was hoping for a negotiated compromise.
Two presidential candidates Green David Cobb and Libertarian Michael Badnarik have sued state election officials in an effort to compel them to begin a recount immediately.
Cobb on Thursday said his side would like to propose a partial recount perhaps 10 percent of the votes in an effort to verify the accuracy of the presidential contest. A full recount could proceed if significant problems were discovered in the sample, he suggested.
Concerns center on voting technology, Cobb said.
"We know that there were extraordinary voting anomalies on precincts that used the new technology," Cobb said at a Santa Fe diner. Of particular concern, Cobb said, are voting machines that do not produce a paper trail; the so-called undervote, when some people vote for local offices but do not vote in the presidential race; and the reliability of optical scanning machines that count paper ballots.
The state Canvassing Board, which governs elections, gave Cobb and Badnarik until 10 a.m. Thursday to put down a $1.4 million deposit to pay for the recount. That deadline came and went with no money deposited with the Secretary of State's Office, a spokesman said.
Cobb said the matter now rests with the state Supreme Court or with a compromise with state election officials.
The court did not act on the matter or schedule a hearing as of 5 p.m. Thursday.
Justices Edward L. Chavez and Petra Maes recused themselves from the case on Wednesday. They did not list reasons in court documents.
However, Chavez was on the ballot in a partisan election this year, and Maes is a member of the state Canvassing Board, which heard the recount request earlier this week.
But Cobb appeared hopeful for a compromise.
"Everything we have done has been an attempt to establish a cooperative relationship with elections administrators in this state," he said. "This is about auditing the machinery and the technology, and we really have been thwarted at every turn by the governor's office."