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Questions, protests already surround preparations for Nov. 2 elections

[JURIST] As the November 2 presidential election approaches, accusations of fraud and unfairness by both political parties have increased, prompting questions about the electoral process in many states. In Nevada, a Republican-hired group registering voters has been accused by a former employee of systematically destroying Democratic registration applications. The company, Sproul & Associates, has also been registering voters in other states, including West Virginia, Minnesota and Oregon, where the Secretary of State announced a probe into improper registration practices. In Milwaukee, county officials have disputed how many ballots should be printed. The city mayor, a member of the Kerry campaign, called for nearly a million ballots due to increased registration for this election, while the country executive, who is part of the Bush campaign, said only about 700,000 would be needed, with extra ballots presenting a risk for fraud. The Wisconsin governor ultimately ordered an investigation into the issue. USA Today has more.

The General Accounting Office has released a report that concludes that the Department of Justice is not sufficiently prepared for an influx of reports of voting rights violations following the election, the Washington Post reported Friday. Read the report here [PDF]. The New York Times meanwhile reports that a federal judge in Ohio has ruled that the Ohio secretary of state must count provisional ballots filed in the wrong precinct, overturning a directive by the secretary. Read the court's opinion here [PDF].

Two international elections groups are already observing US election systems to ensure compliance with international standards. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and San Francisco human rights group Global Exchange both have teams monitoring voting preparations. More on their observations are available here (OSCE) and here (Global Exchange).

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