Electoral College to certify Bush win

Nevada's five Electoral College members will certify President Bush's re-election on Monday amid continuing controversy over the Nov. 2 elections - including a lawsuit questioning Bush's victory in this state.

The voting by the Republican electors - Joe Brown and Milton Schwartz of Las Vegas, John Marvel of Battle Mountain, Bev Willard of Carson City and Paul Willis of Pahrump - will coincide with balloting by presidential electors across the country.

There's no constitutional provision or federal law requiring electors to vote in line with the popular vote in their state. But a state law requires electors to follow the popular vote. Bush defeated John Kerry in Nevada by 21,500 votes, 418,690 to 397,190.

Bush won the electoral vote nationally by a margin of 34 electoral votes, 286-252.

While concerns remain about the Election Day results, Bush's 3.5 million-vote victory margin nationally appears wide enough to overcome claims focusing on voting machine failures, voter confusion, overcrowded polling sites and other factors.

That didn't keep citizen activist Patricia Axelrod from suing Nevada Secretary of State Dean Heller, alleging he's withholding election records that could bring Bush's victory in this state into question.

Axelrod, a Reno Democrat, wants a judge to order Heller and his elections deputy, Ronda Moore, to hand over dozens of pages of documents to prove whether or not "Bush stole this election."

Among other issues, Axelrod's suit filed Tuesday in Carson District Court seeks an explanation for about 10,000 "undervotes" in the state's two most populous counties - Clark and Washoe. Undervotes are ballots that don't register a vote for a particular candidate.

In her suit, Axelrod seeks both preliminary and final election documents from all 17 Nevada counties, as well as all documents on undervoting in the counties.

Axelrod also has challenged the accuracy of the state's new voter-verifiable receipt electronic voting machines, although Heller's office found no problems with the machines. Nevada is the first state to make widespread use of the devices.

Axelrod's lawsuit followed dimissal last week of a legal challenge aimed at blocking Nevada's electoral votes from being cast for Bush. In that case, Minden resident Rick Newell Davis contended thousands of Nevadans might have been denied the right to vote because of registration problems and should still be allowed to cast ballots.

Of greatest concern for the election critics is the swing state of Ohio, whose 20 electoral votes guaranteed Bush's victory. Kerry has called for a statewide recount in that state.

Although most complaints have come from Democrats and third-party candidates, Republicans and bipartisan groups acknowledge problems. The Government Accountability Office and U.S. Election Assistance Commission also are scrutinizing the outcome.


On the Internet: www.secretaryofstate.biz


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