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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

No plan to challenge voters, GOP tells judge



Img_2433_3 As John McCain campaigned in Tampa and Barack Obama campaigned in Jacksonville on Monday, the Florida Democratic Party and Republican National Committee squared off in a Tallahassee courtroom.

It felt like 2000 all over again, though this clash lasted for about 15 minutes, and Circuit Judge Kevin Davey didn't issue a ruling. But Democrats seemed pleased after eliciting sworn affidavits from state and national Republican officials that the GOP "does not contemplate" an Election Day program of challenging voters' eligibility based on a party mailing.

"None of our clients have even considered undertaking any of these activities," said Richard Doran, representing the Republican Party of Florida and the Republican National Committee, who added that he and his clients were "extremely disappointed" to be in court over what Republican court documents describe as a "nonexistent threat." Mark Herron (at left), one of the Democrats' lawyers, cited the affidavits in telling the judge: "There just isn't any dispute here."

Democrats filed a lawsuit last week based on a couple of press accounts suggesting that GOP challenges are possible, as well as a petition challenging about 300 Glades County voters, filed by a local candidate for sheriff (and ruled invalid by the county elections office).

Davey said he would be ready to convene a hearing Tuesday if problems arise anywhere around the state. But Democrats say they don't think that will be necessary. "We look forward to a very smooth election day," said Eric Jotkoff, a spokesman for the Florida Democratic Party.


[Last modified: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 4:44pm]


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