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October 21, 2004 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-10-21

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2A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 21, 2004

NATION/WORLD

Lawsuits
The Associated Press m

>ile up as election nears NEWS IN BRIEF

A new political strategy has emerged
in this photo-finish presidential race:
File a flurry of lawsuits before the first
votes are even tallied.
From Oregon to Florida, Democrats
and Republicans are firing away at issues
such as touch-screen voting machines
and provisional ballots. The lawsuits rep-
resent a hard-learned lesson from 2000.
"I have never seen this level of concern
about an election," said Laughlin McDon-
ald, director of the American Civil Liber-
ties Union's Voting Rights Project.
Others believe the legal wrangling
may serve only to damage the voting
process.
"It's disastrous for fundamental faith in
the system itself," said Doug Lewis, exec-
utive director of the Election Center, a
nonprofit organization working with poll-
ing administrators across the country.
"Pretty soon you get people saying,
'Shoot, then why bother to vote?' There
has been such a concerted effort to beat
up on the system itself that people need
to step back and understand that if you
destroy the very process by which your
candidate gets elected, then what have
you gained?"
In more than a dozen states, includ-
ing the big battleground sites of Florida,

Voters cast their ballots electronically in a downtown Miami government
building Monday as Florida began its early voting program.

Ohio, Michigan and Missouri, a series
of lawsuits has been filed in the past few
months. Most of the cases were brought
on behalf of Democrats.
Two of the most common legal bat-
tles are over electronic voting and pro-
visional ballots.
Florida and 28 other states will use
touch-screen machines, but that has
prompted lawsuits claiming the ATM-
like devices are unreliable because they

produce no paper receipts that could be
used in a recount. On Tuesday, a law-
suit filed in New Jersey asked that 8,000
of the machines be banned on Election
Day for those reasons. A trial over the e-
voting machines also got under way this
week in Florida.
Provisional ballots have prompted
intense fighting in Ohio, Michigan and
Florida.
In court decisions issued this past

I

week, Democrats won their fight to ease
restrictions on such ballots. In Ohio and
Michigan, judges ruled that a voter who
shows up at the wrong polling place can
still cast a provisional ballot as long as
he or she is in the right city or county.
On Monday, Republicans scored a vic-
tory for their side of the argument when
the Florida Supreme Court ruled that pro-
visional ballots cannot be counted unless
they are cast in the correct precinct.
Another fight in Florida involves a
Democratic lawsuit challenging an order
to disqualify voters. Secretary of State
Glenda Hood instructed county officials
to throw out registration cards from vot-
ers who do not check a box confirming
they are American citizens, even if they
sign an oath on the same form swearing
they are citizens.
Hood maintains state and federal laws
require the box to be checked. The law-
suit marks the fourth time since August
that the party has taken the Florida sec-
retary of state to court.
The ACLU is monitoring election
practices in several states, includ-
ing Nevada, where a judge refused to
reopen registration for Clark County
residents whose registrations may have
been destroyed by a Republican-funded
group. Clark County, home to Las Vegas,
is the state's most populous county.
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BAGHDAD, Iraq
Iraq requests more election workers
Iraq's interim government complained yesterday that the United Nations isn't doing
enough to help prepare for January elections, saying the organization has sent fewer
electoral workers than it did when tiny East Timor voted to secede from Indonesia.
U.S. aircraft, meanwhile, mounted four strikes in Fallujah on what the U.S.
military said were safehouses used by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's terror network. A
Sunni Muslim clerical group demanded that the Iraqi government prevent any full-
scale U.S. attack on Fallujah, hoping to muster the same public anger that forced
the Marines to abandon a siege of the city last spring.
In other violence, 11 American soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter were wounded
when two car bombs exploded in Samarra, a city that U.S. and Iraqi forces have
hailed as a success story since taking it from insurgents last month. An Iraqi child
was killed and a civilian was wounded, the Army said.
A suicide bomber in Baghdad detonated his car near a U.S. patrol on the air-
port road, wounding two American soldiers and two Iraqi policemen. The road is
among the most dangerous in the capital. Zarqawi's terror organization claimed
responsibility for the attack, though it was not immediately possible to verify that
the Internet posting was authentic.
KABUL, Afghanistan
Leader blamed for not disrupting voting
Fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar has fallen out with some
of his lieutenants, who blame him for the rebels' failure to disrupt the landmark
Afghan presidential election, the U.S. military said yesterday.
Election officials, meanwhile, said U.S.-backed interim President Hamid Karzai
could all but seal a victory today as vote counting proceeds from an Oct. 9 ballot
that came off largely peacefully.
A U.S. military spokesman, Maj. Scott Nelson, said intelligence reports from
Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan indicated the Taliban's failure to mount
major attacks during the election had demoralized the rebels.
"There's been serious disagreements between Mullah Omar and some of his
lower commanders on the strategy for the follow-up after the election," Nelson
said. "There's a lot of frustration with his lack of effectiveness in disrupting
the election."
MADRID, Spain
Police: Militant planned huge suicide bomb
A Muslim militant schemed to punish Spain with the "biggest blow of its his-
tory" - a half-ton suicide truck bombing of the National Court aimed at killing
judges investigating Islamic terror, including the Madrid train attacks, states a
police intelligence report obtained yesterday by The Associated Press.
"If Spain loses three or four of its most important judges, that is worse than losing
its prime minister," the report said. It quoted an informant whose testimony on his
contacts.with the militant triggered the arrests of eight suspects this week in Spain.
Western Europe has never suffered a major suicide bombing, although suicide
blasts killed 61 people last November in Istanbul, Turkey.
An estimated 220 pounds of explosives was used in the 10 backpack bombs that
hit the Madrid commuter rail network March 11, killing 191 people.
DENVER
Site matches organ transplant donors, patients
Setting aside ethical concerns, surgeons completed a kidney transplant yester-
day in what is believed to be the first operation where the donor and recipient me
through a commercial website.
The donor and recipient were doing well after the four-hour surgery, Presbyte-
rian/St. Luke's Medical Center spokeswoman Stephanie Lewis said.
Bob Hickey, who lives in a mountain town near Vail, had needed a transplant
since 1999 because of kidney disease but had grown tired of being on the national
waiting list. He met donor Rob Smitty of Chattanooga, Tenn., through Matching-
Donors.com, a for-profit websie created in January to mhatch donors atd patients
for a fee.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
MARKET UPDATE
WED. CLOSE CHANGE
Dow JoNEs 9,886.93 - 10.69
NASDAQ 1,932.97 + 10.07
s& Poo 1,103.66 + 0.43
i i
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