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Briefs filed in Florida absentee ballot cases

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TALLAHASSEE, Florida (CNN) -- Attorneys filed briefs with the Florida Supreme Court on Monday on whether 25,000 absentee ballots in Martin and Seminole counties should be thrown out.

Briefs were filed just before the 9 a.m. deadline by attorneys for Democratic voters and for the campaign of Republican George W. Bush, along with attorneys representing Martin and Seminole county officials.

On Friday, two Florida circuit court judges ruled that while Republican election supervisors had not acted properly, there was no reason to discard absentee ballots in the two counties.

If those rulings are overturned and the ballots tossed out, it would change the outcome of the presidential election in favor of Democrat Al Gore.

Gore is not a party to either lawsuit.

Democratic voters in the two counties had sued, claiming elections supervisors had illegally allowed Republican Party operatives to fill in missing information on absentee ballot requests.

The Democratic voters argued that because the ballots that resulted from the altered application forms could not be specifically identified, all the ballots -- about 15,000 in Seminole County and about 10,000 in Martin County -- should be tossed out.

Republican operatives admitted altering ballot request forms. Circuit Judges Terry Lewis and Nikki Clark found irregularities but said they were not serious enough to throw out votes. Their rulings were then appealed to the state Supreme Court.



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