By: Joe Strupp
A recount by reporters for The Miami Herald found that George W. Bush?s victory in three heavily Democratic counties appeared to be legitimate, the paper reported Sunday.
In a story published in the Herald?s Nov. 28 edition, the paper detailed how two reporters conducted a recount of more than 17,000 ballots over three days last week and found that charges of voter fraud were unfounded, at least in those areas.
“Last week, The Herald went to see for itself whether Bush’s steamroll through North Florida was legitimate,”the story revealed. The paper picked three small counties “that fit the conspiracy theory profile: staunchly Democratic by registration, whoppingly GOP by voting.?
The newspaper reviewed votes done by optical scan ballots in Suwannee, Lafayette, and Union counties, which showed Bush beating Sen. John Kerry in “a swath of Florida where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 3-1.”
The Herald reported finding ?minor differences? with the official results in each county, most involving a “smattering of ballots that had been discarded as unreadable by optical scan machines but in which reporters felt the voter intent was clear.”
The optical-scan system involves voters filling in an oval or darkening an arrow by a candidate’s name on a card. A machine reads the card optically, the paper reported.
The three counties, however, cast only about 15,000 votes total, a tiny fraction of the state vote.
One election supervisor explained why so many Democrats there voted for Bush: “People here are mostly fundamentalist Christians who work in the prisons. Do you think they’re going to vote for the liberal senator from Massachusetts?”