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Martin demands investigation in Missouri's 3rd District

by CHRISTOPHER LEONARD, Associated Press | November 4, 2010 at 7:16 a.m. | Updated November 4, 2010 at 7:16 a.m.

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Republican Ed Martin is demanding an investigation of possible voter fraud after narrowly losing the election for Missouri's 3rd Congressional District to Democratic incumbent Rep. Russ Carnahan.

Martin said Wednesday he will send a formal request for the investigation to Carnahan's sister, Secretary of State Robin Carnahan. Martin laid out a list of concerns, including a late-night surge of Carnahan votes from urban St. Louis and problems with providing provisional ballots to voters.

"There are questions that remain today," Martin said. "We think right now there is some reason to be concerned."

Russ Carnahan dismissed the allegations as "a lot of post-election blunder." His campaign pointed out that Carnahan's winning margin was 2 percent, above the 1 percent margin that permits a recount.

"My job is to get to work," Carnahan said. He spent the day touring the district and meeting voters, traveling to rural Jefferson and Ste. Genevieve counties where he lost by wide margins.

The election was close in a typically safe Democratic district, with Carnahan winning by 4,418 votes out of 202,571 votes cast, according to the secretary of state's office.

Martin cited three key reasons he was concerned about possible voting irregularities.

He said a late-night surge of voting returns in St. Louis City was suspicious because of the wide margin it carried for Carnahan.

He also criticized problems reported by poll workers Tuesday who could not access a statewide online voter registration database. Martin pointed out the database was maintained by Robin Carnahan's office, and said some voters had problems getting provisional ballots after local poll workers could not verify their registration.

Laura Egerdal, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, said Tuesday that each county had its own voter registration lists to refer to when there were problems with the database. She said the sporadic database problem was resolved by 2 p.m.

Martin also said it was a conflict of interest for the St. Louis City Board of Elections to hire a private security company that had worked for Russ Carnahan's campaign in August.

"It doesn't pass the good practices test, for sure," Martin said. He did not allege any specific wrongdoing on the part of the company, called Special Services.

A spokesman for Special Services said the company does not comment on its operations. The City Board of Elections did not return a message seeking comment.

Carnahan said he hired Special Services in August after someone threw a firebomb at one of his offices. He pointed out Special Services does business throughout St. Louis and is hired by several businesses and other agencies.


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