Tags: Bush | Sues | Include | Military | Votes

Bush Sues to Include Military Votes

Wednesday, 22 November 2000 12:00 AM

Republicans have for several days been attacking Democrats for challenging the legitimacy of ballots from overseas military personnel. According to GOP sources, of 3,733 ballots cast in Florida by overseas military personnel, 1,527 were rejected by county commissioners.

On the initial Florida vote count, Bush leads Vice President Al Gore by 930 votes, but both sides are scrambling to pick up every vote they can.

Gore has closed the gap by more than 250 votes in hand counts, but a decision Wednesday by the Miami-Dade Election Canvassing Board to cancel its hand count appears to have ruled out more than 10,000 improperly marked ballots that Gore partisans were hoping would generate thousands of additional votes for their candidate.

The Gore campaign said it would sue to force the county to do the manual recount.

Many of the rejected military ballots lacked the postmark or signature that they are supposed to carry for the ballots to be valid, but Republican spokesman Mindy Tucker argued that Democrats waged an "orchestrated statewide campaign" to have these ballots – presumably overwhelmingly Bush voters – rejected.

The Democratic Party had prepared a legal memo for Democrat observers on what elements would allow an overseas ballot to be challenged, and Republicans issued a counter-memo explaining the defense for these challenged ballots.

According to the motion filed by the Republicans Wednesday, the canvassing boards in 13 Florida counties "have wrongfully rejected many overseas military ballots cast" because the ballot lacked a postmark or a date or other purported technical requirements.

The motion argues that the boards disqualified the ballots based on a misunderstanding of the law, and that the ballots do not in fact require a postmark or date on the envelope.

The Republicans are asking for emergency intervention by the court to have these votes reinstated and tallied by the Sunday deadline set by the Florida Supreme Court for counties to submit amended vote tallies.

Republican attorney Fred H. Bartlit Jr. said the lawsuit targeted only 13 counties because the GOP "wanted to move fast" and wanted to limit the complaint to the degree possible to those counties that have the greatest number of military ballots.

Bartlit said the petition did not ask the court to rewrite the law for overseas ballots but asked only that "they apply the law" as written.

Copyright 2000 by United Press International. All rights reserved.

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Republicans have for several days been attacking Democrats for challenging the legitimacy of ballots from overseas military personnel. According to GOP sources, of 3,733 ballots cast in Florida by overseas military personnel, 1,527 were rejected by county commissioners. On...
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Wednesday, 22 November 2000 12:00 AM
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