The New York Times Politics Blog

January 11, 2008,  5:58 pm


Candidates Push for a N.H. Recount


By Michael Falcone


Could New Hampshire be headed for Florida redux?


Just three days after Tuesday’s primary election, the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s office says it will conduct a hand recount of the votes in both the Republican and Democratic primaries starting next Wednesday after receiving formal requests from two candidates this week.


On Friday, Albert Howard, an obscure candidate from Ann Arbor, Mich., who appeared on the Republican ballot and received 44 votes in the primary, hand-delivered his recount request and a down payment of $2,000 to the statehouse in Concord, N.H.


And Dennis Kucinich, an Ohio Congressman and presidential candidate, sent a letter to the New Hampshire Secretary of State asking for a recount of the Democratic ballots. Mr. Kucinich’s letter cited “unexplained disparities between hand-counted ballots and machine-counted ballots.”


Both Mr. Kucinich and Mr. Howard, whose Web site lists making “computerized voting illegal in all 50 states” as a top campaign issue, will have to come up with the money to pay for the recount. But they are allowed to back out when the recount process begins.


The Secretary of State’s office could not immediately provide an estimate of how much the recounts would cost or how long they would take, though it could possibly be weeks. Under state law, any candidate who receives at least one vote in the primary can request a recount. Campaign representatives will be allowed to observe the recount and challenge any ballots they believe to be questionable.


“It’s been a long haul for this primary,” New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner said in an interview. “But we’ll do it – it’s part of the job.”


It was unclear why Mr. Howard requested the recount, and he could not be reached for comment.


New Hampshire uses both touch-screen voting machines and, in some areas, old-fashioned paper ballots. The last year New Hampshire conducted a statewide recount in a presidential primary was 1980.


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