Judge Okays Recount

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A judge in Phenix City, Alabama, has approved recounting the votes cast in Russell County in the governor's race.

The probate judge and sheriff in Russell County had asked Circuit
Judge Albert Johnson for a ruling on whether ballots could be unsealed for a recount.

The judge issued an order Friday saying the ballots can be unsealed. Probate Judge Albert Howard now says the recount will begin at
8:00 a.m. Nov. 19, unless the Alabama Supreme Court stays it.

Howard had wanted to recount the ballots yesterday, but the sheriff did not want to unseal them without court approval.

Republican challenger Bob Riley appealed to the state supreme court to block incumbent Gov. Don Siegelman's request for a statewide recount.
In certified totals from all 67 counties, Riley leads by 3,117 votes.

Siegelman's campaign maintains that the votes were somehow tainted and should be counted by hand this time around.

"You know, here we see the latest step in a week long process by
Bob Riley, the Republican Party joining together to stop an honest and fair recount of the votes in Alabama," said Siegelman spokesman, Rip Andrews. "We don't know who won this election. The only way to figure it out is to recount the ballots and the Bob Riley campaign is obviously scared of what they are going to find."

Riley and his campaign contend that the public does know who won the election, citing the congressman's 3,117-vote lead, and that Siegelman is desperately trying to hold on to his job.