Seminole County ballots
masinter at NOVA.EDU
Fri Dec 1 13:02:33 PST 2000
The county did not print the applications. The county did not retain a
vendor to print the applications. The county did not mail the
applications. The Republican Party did all three of those things.
A new challenge has been brought against the Martin County absentee
ballots, which were taken by party ops from the supervisor's office tot he
party office, completed and returned.
Michael R. Masinter 3305 College Avenue
Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, Fl. 33314
Shepard Broad Law Center (954) 262-6151
masinter at nova.edu Chair, ACLU of Florida Legal Panel
On Fri, 1 Dec 2000, James Maule wrote:
> The applications are mailed by the county with a pre-printed return
> address (for the piece being mailed back to the county). In the return
> address space the county (the county's print vendor) is supposed to
> place the voter registration number. For some reason the printer did
> not do that for a portion (not all) of the application forms. That is
> the information that the Republican volunteers (rather than the
> printer) inserted.
> If it is indeed wrong for the volunteers to insert the number (because they are not the voter or a voter relative) then it is just as wrong for the county or the county vendor to insert the number. And apparently most (perhaps all) of the counties use outside vendors to print the absentee ballot applications and to insert that number. Logically, then, if this number is part of what the voter is to fill in, then ALL the absentee ballots should be dismissed. That result demonstrates the flaw in the application of the legal question to the facts. Westlaw may have the language of the law but I don't think it has the underlying facts of this situations. I have seen a picture of the absentee ballot application (with the pre-printed number) and a picture of one without the number.
> And if the voters are to be treated differently because the county (through its agent) inserted numbers for some voters (via the vendor) but not others (with a prohibition against using a volunteer to substitute for the printer-vendor), there surely will be a basis for the disenfranchised voters to seek relief. So none of this does Gore any good, which is why his campaign has been singularly absent from discussion on this point.
> Too many lawyers nowadays are quick-to-the-gun (and living in the mindset that causes law firms to use fake hand grenades, pictures of tanks and similar advertising gimmicks to get clients, perhaps encouraged by the use of a revamped version of Edwin Starr's "War" as the theme for one of the popular TV lawyer shows). Too many lawyers don't sit down and talk with clients about the disadvantages of suing and the long-term consequences of becoming adversarial. Too many lawyers are more concerned with fame (and fortune, perhaps), wanting to ride the crest of public attention into a media-hyped courtroom appearance. Having had the experience of working with lawyers who bring a sense of balance to their practice, I appreciate the difference between knee-jerk reaction and careful thought. The Seminole county lawsuit does nothing to advance justice and nothing to strengthen the Constitutional fabric of the nation. Imposing sanctions might just put a damper on the "there's nothing to!
> ose so let's sue" mind-set that permeates the legal profession/business.
> Jim Maule
> Professor of Law
> Villanova University School of Law
> Villanova PA 19085
> maule at law.villanova.edu
> >>> romberjo at SHU.EDU 11/30/00 11:07PM >>>
> Where do you find that the voter registration # is information to be
> provided by the county? From my 3 minutes of research on Westlaw (which
> may well have missed something), it seems that the relevant statutory
> provision is 101.62(1)(b), which requires that the voter must personally
> supply her # (or at least that the voter must sign a form disclosing all
> the relevant info, including the #, whoever initially put that info on the
> form). And my understanding is that the counties didn't fill in the voter
> registration #'s, but rather that the parties did, so as to make requesting
> a ballot easier for party members, and that the Republican party's vendor
> messed up.
> Fl. St. 101.62(1)(b) reads, in relevant part:
> "The supervisor may accept a written or telephonic request for an absentee
> ballot from the elector, or, if directly instructed by the elector, a
> member of the elector's immediate family, or the elector's legal
> guardian.... The person making the request must disclose:
> 1. The name of the elector for whom the ballot is requested;
> 2. The elector's address;
> 3. The last four digits of the elector's social security number;
> 4. The registration number on the elector's registration identification
> 5. The requester's name;
> 6. The requester's address;
> 7. The requester's social security number and, if available, driver's
> license number;
> 8. The requester's relationship to the elector; and
> 9. The requester's signature (written requests only)."
> Jon Romberg
> Seton Hall
> The lawyer should know better. The statute requires the voter, or a family
> member to "fill out" the application, which means putting in the
> information required of the applicant. The voter ID# is information to be
> provided by the county, whose agent vendor messed up, and the county then
> took up an offer by Republicans to insert the information that the county
> should have entered. Putting the number onto the application is NOT part of
> "filling out" the application. Is there a law barring the Country from
> accepting volunteer hours from citizens? No. Moreover, the number is part
> of the return address.... any lawyer with half a brain knows better than to
> try to base an argument on this silliness, and it wouldn't hurt American
> perceptions of lawyers to see a court slap one on the wrist for jumping
> into a fray without thinking.
> Jim Maule
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