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Florida Supreme Court won't throw out absentee ballots

Craig Waters
Spokesman Waters announces the Florida Supreme Court's unanimous decision not to void the absentee ballots  

TALLAHASSEE, Florida (CNN) -- The Florida Supreme Court affirmed two lower courts' decisions not to throw out some 25,000 absentee ballots cast in Martin and Seminole counties.

Court spokesman Craig Waters announced Tuesday that the court had decided the cases without hearing oral arguments.

Groups of Democratic voters in the two counties had filed separate lawsuits seeking to have the ballots thrown out because election officials had allowed GOP volunteers to fill in missing voter identification numbers on thousands of ballot applications.

On Friday, two Florida circuit court judges ruled that while Republican election supervisors had not acted properly, there was no reason to discard absentee ballots in the two counties.

graphic  DOCUMENTS
Florida Supreme Court opinions upholding absentee ballots:

Taylor v. Martin County (FindLaw)
Jacobs v. Seminole County (FindLaw)
 

The Florida Supreme Court agreed, saying that while it did not condone the irregularities, they could not be considered fraud.

Vice President Al Gore was not a party to either lawsuit, but would have benefited if the court had agreed to throw out the ballots.

Republican George W. Bush won the absentee vote in both counties -- by 10,006 votes in Seminole and 6,294 votes in Martin.

Gore received 5,000 votes in Seminole and 3,479 in Martin.

Bush has been certified the winner in Florida by 537 votes.



RELATED STORIES:
Judges hear oral arguments in Florida absentee-ballot applications cases
December 7, 2000
Court watchers disagree on how judges hearing absentee-vote lawsuits would rule
December 6, 2000
Election battle returns to Florida Supreme Court
December 5, 2000
Bush attorneys argue against manual recounts before federal judges in Atlanta
December 5, 2000

RELATED SITES:
Florida State Courts
Florida Southern District Court
Electoral College
Volusia County government
Palm Beach County government


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