Conspiracy Theories Abound After Bush Victory

ByABC News
November 9, 2004, 6:09 PM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 9, 2004 -- -- There were minor voting irregularities on Election Day -- long lines, voting machine breakdowns, shortages of provisional ballots -- but some people are now leveling charges of voter fraud.

Doug Chapin, a nonpartisan election analyst, finds the claims to be baseless. "There were no problems that would lead me to believe that there were stolen elections or widespread fraud," he said.

"There was no overwhelming reason to cast doubt on the outcome of this election," seconded Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, the campaign manager for Al Gore's 2000 campaign. "George Bush got more votes this time."

Nevertheless, many people have devised various theories, including stories of voters in largely Democratic counties in Florida whose votes were changed for Bush, phantom voters in Ohio and exit polls showing John Kerry in the lead that were truer than the final tally. Off the record, many Democratic strategists dismiss such allegations, but they also know such resentment can be channeled for political use in the future.

Based at least in part on these conspiracy theories, three Democratic congressmen have written a letter to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

"We are requesting an investigation into all the allegations, of irregularities with respect to the electronic and other voting machines so that people can have confidence in the result of this election, and so that any weaknesses are changed before the next election," said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.

The congressmen's letter mentions the Web site, which questions why so many counties in Florida that have more registered Democrats than Republicans ended up voting for Bush. The Web site implies someone fixed the results.

In regard to Lafayette County, one of the counties in question, it is true that there are far more registered Democrats in that county than Republicans (3,570 to 570, respectively), and that the county elected Bush in this year's election, but the county elected Bush in the last election, too.