20 August 2004

Lawyers for Fla. congressman argue for paper ballots

Doug Gross - AP - August 20. 2004

Lawyers for a Florida congressman argued Friday to keep alive a push to require the state's voting machines to create a paper ballot to go with each vote.

Attorneys for U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, a Democrat, told members of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that a district judge wrongly threw out Wexler's lawsuit.

In dismissing the federal complaint, U.S. District Judge James Cohn said he couldn't get involved because the issue also was being considered by state courts. Also, Cohn ruled that the lawsuit would require the federal courts to become deeply involved with election procedures, which typically are left to the states.

"The judge basically mixed apples and oranges," said Wexler's attorney, Robert Peck, who said the federal and state cases argued different issues.

Attorneys for Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood, Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Theresa LePore and Indian River Supervisor of Elections Kay Clem said the judge acted properly because Wexler's federal lawsuit was merely an effort to make the same arguments in two courts.

Wexler's attorneys have asked the appeals court to speed their decision so state election officials could make changes before the November elections.

Earlier this month, a state appeals court threw out the case.


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