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Judge dimisses suit seeking paper trail for touch-sreen machines

Associated Press   25 October 2004

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - The state will not be forced to create a paper record in case of recounts in elections on touch-screen voting machines, a judge ruled Monday in a lawsuit by U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler.

U.S. District Judge James I. Cohn ruled in favor of Secretary of State Glenda Hood and Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Theresa LePore.

The suit by the Boca Raton Democrat sought a paper record for manual recounts in close elections like the contentious 2000 presidential race. He had been seeking a way to help determine voter intent when no votes were recorded, known as "undervotes."

The state issued a new rule Oct. 14 for manual recounts to replace one thrown out by a state judge.

However, Wexler argued recounts aren't possible with the paperless machines because there is nothing to review by hand. The machines produce a form showing votes and instances where no votes were recorded.

Cohn heard three days of testimony in the trial, calling it a "case is of great public importance" and promising a written order subject to quick appeal by the losing side.


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