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Judge: touchscreen counties must be able to do manual recounts

The Associated Press  27 August 2004
A state rule preventing the 15 Florida counties that use touchscreen voting from conducting manual recounts is at odds with state law, which requires hand recounts in certain situations, an administrative law judge ruled Friday.

A coalition including a labor union, government watchdogs and other interest groups sued the state arguing that the law requires provisions for manual recounts in every county, no matter what voting technology is used, and Administrative Law Judge Susan B. Kirkland agreed.

Officials in the 15 counties had asked the state what they should do about the law requiring manual recounts in certain cases, because their machines aren't programmed to create a paper record of each vote.

Secretary of State Glenda Hood, who oversees the state's elections, issued a rule saying that touchscreen counties didn't have to do hand recounts because those are used to determine the intent of voters whose votes weren't counted. Hood argued that there shouldn't be any situations like that with touchscreen because voters using the machines can't vote for the same candidate twice. And the machine tells the voter if they undervote by not picking a candidate in a race.

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