Poll: Siegelman Lost

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Attorneys for Republican Bob Riley asked the Alabama Supreme Court again Monday to stop all county-by-county recounts. Riley's attorneys argue that there should be no recounts until the state's highest court rules on their legality.

Riley's attorneys say the Supreme Court needs to act quickly because a recount is scheduled to begin Tuesday morning in Russell County.
Choctaw County has also slated a recount for Nov. 19 unless a court ruling stops it.

Riley's attorneys had asked the Supreme Court last week to stop any recounts, but the court did not grant the request at that time. Instead, the justices set a quick schedule for hearing arguments on Riley's suit challenging the legality of a recount.

Supporters of Democrat Gov. Don Siegelman have filed for a recount in every Alabama County in hopes of erasing Riley's lead of 3,117 votes. Siegelman's lawyers say a recount is legal under state election regulations approved earlier this year by the U.S. Justice Department. But Riley's lawyers say state law prohibits the opening of sealed ballots for a recount like Siegelman wants.

A majority of Alabamians contacted in a survey say Siegelman lost the Nov. 5 election to Riley. But well over half agree with Siegelman's demand for a recount of all 1.3 million ballots cast in the governor's race.

The University of South Alabama conducted the survey for the Mobile Register. Four hundred and twenty-six Alabama adults were surveyed in the poll, taken Monday through Thursday. It has a 4.7 percent sampling margin of error. Respondents in the survey included an almost equal number of democrats and republicans.

Lawyers for Riley contend that a recount would break a 1953 law barring ballots from being unsealed except in very limited circumstances.

On a related issue, more than 80 percent of those surveyed support requiring a photo identification, such as a driver's license, before being allowed to vote.

The Alabama Supreme Court will hear arguments Nov. 21 in the recount dispute.