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Charges of ballot tampering fly last minute in Massachusetts vote

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The Coakley campaign claims that a “serious violation” has taken place in the Massachusetts election, calling into question the validity of the election results even before the tally is in.

In a prepared statement, the campaign took issue with pre-marked ballots being given to voters, claiming that in five instances they were marked in favor of Republican candidate Scott Brown.

“We’ve received several independent and disturbing reports of voters across the state being handed ballots that are already marked in favor of Scott Brown,” the Coakley campaign said. “This is obviously a serious violation, and our legal team is taking immediate steps to protect the integrity of this election.

“We do not yet know why this is happening, but you and everyone you know needs to be aware of the situation so that you can carefully inspect your ballot.”

“The city clerk’s office said a poll worker inadvertently handed out ballots that were already cast,” Boston’s ABC News affiliate added.

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The Massachusetts secretary of state also played down the reports, saying that in the only verified instance of a pre-marked ballot resulted in that ballot being destroyed, according to the Associated Press.

“This is the sort of complaint a campaign usually makes early enough in the day to drive their voters’ turnout up,” National Review Online noted. “6 p.m. is awfully late.”

“Is the Coakley camp hoping for a close race that, if necessary, they could get into Massachusetts’s notoriously partisan court system?” Michael Graham asked.

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Democrats in the state have retained the services of Marc Elias, “who was previously the head recount lawyer for Al Franken in Minnesota,” Talking Points Memo noted.

This video was published to the Web by MyFoxBoston on Jan. 19, 2010.


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New Zealand tightens gun laws again after mosque attack

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New Zealand announced plans for a national firearms register Monday in its second round of gun law reforms following the Christchurch mosque attacks which killed 51 Muslim worshippers.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said regulations around who could hold firearm licences would also be tightened to "stop weapons falling into the wrong hands".

Ardern said the March 15 killings, when a gunman opened fire at two Christchurch mosques as worshippers gathered for Friday prayers, had changed attitudes towards gun ownership in New Zealand.

"There is a new normal around firearms, it is a change of mindset," she told reporters.

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Mascots and javelin carriers: Tokyo adds robots to Olympic roster

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A roster of Olympic robots that will do everything from welcoming visitors to transporting javelins has been unveiled as Tokyo works to showcase Japanese technology at next year's Summer Games.

Japan hopes the 2020 Olympics will be a chance to put its tech sector back on the map after years in which the country's reputation as an industry leader has flagged.

Auto giant Toyota has a roster of five robots with different roles to play, from cutesy renditions of the Olympic mascots to a staid transport bot.

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Final hours of voting in race to become British PM

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The voting closes Monday in the contest to become Britain's next prime minister, with Boris Johnson expected to be confirmed as the winner charged with delivering Brexit.

After a month-long contest between former London mayor Johnson and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, the postal votes of up to 160,000 grassroots Conservatives will decide the governing party's next leader.

The voting window slams shut at 5:00pm (1600 GMT).

The result will be announced on Tuesday, with the winner immediately becoming the new Conservative leader, the victor taking office as prime minister on Wednesday.

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