Florida Fight Over Vote Registration Forms

The Florida Democratic Party (search) accused Secretary of State Glenda Hood (search) of violating federal law when she told elections supervisors across the state that they should reject incomplete voter-registration forms.

Hood's office told counties they should disqualify voters who failed to check a box confirming they're U.S. citizens, even if they signed an oath on the same form swearing they are. She and other state officials have maintained that state and federal laws require the box to be checked.

In a federal lawsuit filed Thursday in Tallahassee, Democratic officials urged a judge to order Hood to reverse those instructions to the state's 67 counties.

"This issue is so clear-cut to me," said Scott Maddox, chairman of the Florida Democratic Party. "The Secretary of State's Office says they want to err on the side of the voter, yet they want to disenfranchise people."

Elections supervisors were flooded with registrations forms by the Monday deadline to sign up to vote for the Nov. 2 general election. Some counties have said they had no plans to follow Hood's policy.

The lawsuit marks the fourth time since August that the Democratic Party has taken Hood and her office to court. The Democrats successfully challenged plans by the state to reopen qualifying in a southwest Florida state Senate seat but were thwarted in their effort to keep Ralph Nader off the presidential ballot.

The Democrats were expected to argue in federal court Friday against the state law that requires provisional ballots to be cast in a voter's precinct.