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X DRUDGE REPORT X SUN NOV 19, 2000 19:31:42 ET X
RELEASED: DEMOCRAT MEMO ON HOW TO DISQUALIFY MILITARY VOTES
The DRUDGE REPORT has obtained -- and is now releasing worldwide -- a memo
circulated to Democrats throughout Florida detailing how to disqualify
overseas military ballots!
It's been talked about. It's been flashed on TV. But now only the DRUDGE
REPORT can bring you the full text.
Mark Herron, a Tallahassee lawyer helping shepherd Democratic presidential
election lawsuits through the local courts, sent the five-page letter to
Democratic attorneys across Florida giving them tips on how to lodge protests
against the ballots which heavily favored Republican George W. Bush.
Bush comfortably won Florida's overseas absentee vote by 1,380 votes to
Vice-President Al Gore's 750 but, after vigorous challenges by Gore
canvassers, 1,527 of the postal ballots, many of them from soldiers and
sailors on active service, were rejected using Herron's bluprint.
Gen Norman Schwarzkopf led Republican condemnation of a five-page guide which
advised Democratic tellers how to raise objections to the postal votes.
He said: "It is a very sad day in our country when the men and women of the
armed forces are serving abroad and facing danger of a daily basis . . . and
are denied the right to vote for the president of the United States who will
be their commander in chief."
The 5-page memo as obtained by the DRUDGE REPORT:
Date: November 15, 2000
To: FDP Lawyer
From: Mark Herron
Subject: Overseas Absentee Ballot Review and Protest
State and Federal law provides for the counting of "absentee qualified
electors overseas" ballots for 10 days after the day of the election or until
November 17, 2000. Sections 101.62(7)(a), Florida Statutes defines as
"absentee qualified elector overseas" to mean members of the Armed Forces
while in the service, members of the merchant marine of the United States and
other citizens of the United States, who are permanent residents of the
states and are temporarily residing outside of the territories of the United
States and the Districts of Columbia. These "absent qualified electors
overseas" must also be qualified and registered as provided by law.
You are being asked to review these overseas absentee ballots to make a
determination whether acceptance by the supervisor of elections and/or the
county canvassing board is legal under Florida law. A challenge to these
ballots must be made prior to the time that the ballot is removed from the
mailing envelope. The specific statutory requirement for processing the
canvass of an absentee ballot including of overseas absentee ballot, are set
forth in Section 101.62(2) (c)2. Florida Statutes:
If any elector or candidate present believes that an absentee ballot is
illegal due to a defect apparent on the voter's certificate, he or she may at
anytime before the ballot is removed from the envelope, file with the
canvassing board a protest against the canvass of the ballot specifying the
precinct, the ballot, and the reason he or she believes the ballot to be
illegal. A challenge based upon a defect in the voterÕs certificate may not
be accepted after the ballot has been removed from the mailing envelope.
The form of the voter's certificates on the absentee ballot is set forth in
section 101.64(1), Florida Statutes. By statutory provisions, only overseas
absentee ballots mailed with an APO, PPO, or foreign postmark shall be
considered a ballot. See Section 101.62(7)(c). Florida Statutes.
In reviewing these ballots you should focus on the following:
1. Request for overseas ballots: Determine that the voter affirmatively
requested an overseas ballot, and that the signature on the request for an
overseas ballot matches the signature of the elector on the registration
books to determine that the elector who requested the overseas ballot is the
elector registered. See Section 101.62(4)(a), Florida Statutes.
2. The voter's signature: The ballot envelope must be signed by the voter.
The signature of the elector as the voter's certificate should be compared
with the signature of the elector of the signature on the registration books
to determine that the elector who voted by ballot is the elector registered.
See Section 101.68(c)x, Florida Statutes.
3. The ballot is properly witnessed: The absentee ballot envelope must be
witnessed by a notary or an attesting witness over the age of eighteen years.
You may note that these requirements vary from the statutory language from
the Section 101.68(2)(c)1, Florida Statutes. Certain statutory requirements
in that section were not proclaimed by the Justice Department pursuant to
Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, Sec. DE 98-13.
4. The ballot is postmarked: With respect to absentee ballots mailed by
absolute qualified electors overseas only those ballots mailed with an APO,