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Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The Fix 

In Florida, a Nixon appointee has ruled that 10,000 would-be voters whose registration forms were rejected on a technicality are S.O.L.:
A federal district judge here dismissed a lawsuit Tuesday that was filed on behalf of more than 10,000 new voters whose registration forms had been rejected as incomplete.

The judge, James Lawrence King, said the labor unions that brought the case had no standing because they had not proved that any of their members were affected. Judge King also said several other plaintiffs, people who had turned in incomplete registration forms, could not blame their local elections supervisors, who were named as defendants.

"No federal or state statute,'' he wrote, "prescribes a time period within which a supervisor must notify an applicant that her application is incomplete.''

Sheila Thomas, a lawyer for the Advancement Project, a rights group that represented the plaintiffs, said, "We think the ruling is incorrect as a matter of law, and we are considering appealing it."

The suit, brought against elections supervisors in Broward, Miami-Dade and several other counties, charged that the rejected registration forms had come disproportionately from blacks and Hispanics. In some cases, the applicants did not check a box indicating that they were American citizens, though they signed an oath on the form affirming that they were. Some registrants corrected their incomplete forms before the Oct. 4 registration deadline, the suit said, but elections officials did not always process them in time, and did not let other registrants know that their forms were flawed.

The suit is among several charging voter disenfranchisement that are being fought by the administration of Gov. Jeb Bush.
UPDATE: The Advancement Project has just confirmed that it will file an appeal with the 11th Circuit Court.

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