More than three dozen voters challenging the presidential election results in the Ohio Supreme Court asked to drop their lawsuit Tuesday, saying it is moot with last week’s certification of the electoral vote and the upcoming inauguration.
Citing fraud, lawyers representing 37 voters on Nov. 2 had asked the court to examine several problems with voting procedures in the hopes of overturning President Bush’s victory in the state.
The election turned on Ohio’s 20 electoral college votes, and not until preliminary results were available early on the morning of Nov. 3 did Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry concede.
Chief Justice Thomas Moyer of the state Supreme Court must still rule on the motion to dismiss the case, and is expected to go along with the request
In a ruling last month declining a request that he remove himself from the case, Moyer, a Republican, called voters’ evidence “woefully inadequate.”
Without giving specifics, attorney Cliff Arnebeck said challenges of the results would continue in state or federal courts. But he conceded that there was nothing available now to try to prevent Bush’s inauguration.
“We are not quitting. We are going on to any other forum that’s available and we intend to pursue those avenues aggressively,” Arnebeck said.
‘It has no merit’
The Bush campaign welcomed the announcement. “This lawsuit was going be dismissed by the Supreme Court because it has no merit — it looks like the people who filed it understood that,” said Mark Weaver, an attorney representing the Bush campaign.
Bush defeated Kerry by about 118,000 votes, according to a recount of the official results paid for by two independent party candidates.
In their lawsuit, voters pointed to long lines, a shortage of voting machines in predominantly minority neighborhoods and problems with computer equipment.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson backed the lawsuit, alleging what he called “high-tech vote stealing” and holding rallies in Ohio and Washington in support of the effort.
In a quadrennial joint session, the House and Senate on Thursday tallied the electoral votes and affirmed Bush’s victory over Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.
But before the final verdict was in, some Democrats angry over the Ohio irregularities forced a challenge to the vote count for just the second time since the 19th century — a protest that prompted strong language from both sides.