Ohio votes will be challenged

By Carl Weiser
Enquirer Washington Bureau

Ohio's 20 electoral votes for President Bush are expected to be challenged by a group of Democrats today in Congress - the first time since 1969 that anyone has tried to block the counting of a state's electoral votes.

Led by Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, Stephanie Tubbs-Jones of Cleveland, and Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Cal., the challenge won't change the outcome of the election. The House and Senate, both of which are controlled by Republicans, will debate the challenge for two hours.

Not joining the challenge: Sen. John Kerry himself, who is in Iraq. He issued a statement saying that while he was concerned about voting rights, "I will not be joining their protest of the Ohio electors.'

Conyers and other activists charge that voting irregularities in Ohio - long lines, bad vote counting, Warren County's mysterious closing of its offices - merit further investigation before the votes should be counted.

Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, called the challenge "a sad day for the United States Congress.''

"I can hardly believe that this could happen on the floor of the United States Senate. All objective observers in Ohio know that President Bush carried the state of Ohio.''