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Wisconsin Republicans allege statewide voter irregularities

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin (CNN) -- Republican officials in Wisconsin said Friday that they will ask the Milwaukee County district attorney to investigate a list of possible voting irregularities ranging from double-balloting to outright fraud.

"Wisconsin has a long, proud tradition of fair, clean elections," said Rick Graber, state chairman of the Republican Party. "Today we are gravely concerned that that tradition has come to an end."

Democratic candidate Al Gore defeated Republican George W. Bush in Wisconsin Tuesday, winning the state's 11 electoral votes.

In a news conference outside the Milwaukee County courthouse, Republican state Rep. Scott Walker listed a half-dozen possible cases in Milwaukee County and across the state he said required investigation from the district attorney's office.

In one incident, videotape from a television news crew showed people voting after a poll worker announced the polls were closing. The tape has been subpoenaed, Walker said.

In another incident, a voter complained that a polling place displayed campaign posters for the Gore-Lieberman ticket and other Democratic candidates. The location was understaffed, and several voters reported easy access to the ballots.

Another voter complained that he was mistakenly given two ballots when he went to vote.

The man "notified the poll worker that he was given two ballots," Walker said. "The poll worker said, 'Go ahead and vote.' He asked a second time, and the poll worker still identified to him to go ahead and vote."

Graber said he had received more than 600 phone calls about the improper handling of marked ballots; about voters being given multiple ballots; and "improper registration procedures that may have allowed some voters to vote multiple times and in multiple locations."

Wisconsin GOP officials said Thursday they had evidence the Gore-Lieberman campaign had engaged in bribery in Milwaukee County by distributing packages of cigarettes to homeless voters, whom they asked to cast absentee ballots.

Walker said that the log at an area homeless mission reveals that individuals identifying themselves as Gore campaign volunteers were asked to leave after residents complained they were being asked to vote for Gore in exchange for cigarettes.

Gore appears to have won in Milwaukee county by a margin of 89,000 votes. Statewide, Gore's margin over Bush was 6,099 votes, or 0.2 percent.

Under Wisconsin law, a candidate is entitled to a recount if his tally is within 0.5 per cent of the winner's. However, a recount request cannot be placed until the Board of Elections receives canvass statements from all 72 counties.

Canvassing is expected to be completed by Monday or Tuesday. Rod Hise, executive director of the Wisconsin Republican Party, said there were no immediate plans for a recount.


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Friday, November 10, 2000

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