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Fla. Vote Officials: No Hand Recounts For Now

Election officials said a new rule barring hand recounts in 15 counties with touchscreen voting systems will remain in place until after Tuesday's primary — despite a judge's invalidation of the rule.

The rule will stand until a 30-day appeal period expires, Dawn Roberts, director of the Division of Elections, said Monday.

In April, Secretary of State Glenda Hood (search) issued a rule preventing manual recounts. Hood has said the machines don't require a paper trail.

A coalition of government watchdogs and other interest groups sued, however, arguing state law requires provisions for hand recounts in every county no matter what voting technology is used.

On Friday, Administrative Law Judge Susan B. Kirkland agreed, invalidating Hood's rule. Kirkland wrote that state law clearly contemplates "that manual recounts will be done on each certified voting system, including the touchscreen voting systems."

The state hasn't decided yet whether to appeal, said Alia Faraj, Hood's spokeswoman.

Florida's voting system has been under scrutiny since 2000, when it took five weeks of legal maneuvering and some recounting before Republican George W. Bush was declared president over Democrat Al Gore. Further election problems arose during Florida's close 2002 Democratic gubernational primary.