Judge dismisses Fla. e-voting suit

Judge James Cohn ruled that the federal court cannot mandate the implementation of e-voting systems that have paper trails.

A federal judge dismissed today a lawsuit that a Florida congressman had filed in a last-ditch effort to require paper trails on electronic voting machines in 15 Florida counties.

Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.) cast the ruling as a partial victory because Judge James Cohn endorsed the idea of a paper trail to allow manual recounts. However, Cohn ruled that the federal court cannot mandate that the state implement such a system.

"I am disappointed that Judge Cohn did not feel he had the authority to act, but I will not allow this setback to deter me from my fight to protect all Florida's voters," Wexler said in a statement. "It is my duty to ensure that the rights and the votes of my constituents are treated equally with those of all other Floridians. The right to vote is a sacred and vital element of our democracy, and we cannot take it for granted or treat it lightly. I strongly encourage all Florida voters to go to the polls as part of early voting or on Nov. 2 to have their voices heard."

Wexler had sued Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood and Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Theresa LePore. Palm Beach County commissioners Burt Aaronson and Addie Greene had served as co-plaintiffs. They argued that the use of the touch-screen machines in 15 counties violated the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause because the remaining 52 Florida counties use optical scan machines, which are capable of allowing a manual recount if required.

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