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Dornan Aides Cite Evidence of Voting Error

December 11, 1996|PETER M. WARREN | TIMES POLITICAL WRITER

SANTA ANA — Representatives of defeated Rep. Robert K. Dornan (R-Garden Grove) said Tuesday they have found significant evidence of voting error in the 46th Congressional District race, while Democrats say there has been scant showing of negligence or fraud during a ballot recount in the race.

Dornan's representatives, who have reviewed about half the 26,000 absentee ballots, say they have so far found 126 absentee ballots that should not have been counted, said Michael Schroeder, an attorney for Dornan.

The ballots were counted though they either lacked the proper signature on the outside of the absentee ballot envelope or were turned in by someone other than the voter or the voter's immediate relative, he said.

In addition, a review of polling place tally sheets from precincts in Santa Ana have found "340 anomalies" in the score cards that are used to rectify voters and ballots, he said.

The apparent errors involve a difference between the number of people who signed precinct roster sheets, indicating they were given a ballot and were about to vote, and the number of ballots that were in the ballot boxes at the end of election day.

In some cases, there are more ballots than signatures of voters, indicating that people voted who should not have, Schroeder said.

In other cases, there are more signatures than ballots. "The only explanation [for that] is something happened to those ballots, like they were thrown out," Schroeder said.

Dornan lost the election to Loretta Sanchez by 984 votes, but he has charged that voter fraud--including the misuse of absentee ballots and the voting of noncitizens--led to his defeat.

Representatives of Sanchez, who watched the process Tuesday, said they saw little evidence that points to negligence, let alone fraud.

"They are not going to nickel and dime themselves into taking away an election," said Chris Sautter, a recount expert who was there on behalf of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

The recount continues today, when election officials will begin counting ballots by hand.

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