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Fla. Democrat loses ruling

December 30, 2006|From the Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. — A judge ruled Friday that the Democrat who narrowly lost the race to succeed Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Fla.) cannot examine the programming code of the electronic voting machines used in the disputed election.

Circuit Judge William Gary ruled that Christine Jennings' arguments about the possibility of lost votes were "conjecture" and did not warrant disclosing the trade secrets of the voting machine company, Election Systems & Software.

The Jennings campaign said it would appeal.

State officials have declared Republican Vern Buchanan the winner by 369 votes in the Sarasota-area district. But 18,000 electronic ballots showed no votes cast in the House race, and Jennings contends the machines lost the votes. The state found no evidence of malfunctions.

Jennings has filed a complaint with Congress, the ultimate arbiter of who will fill the seat. Congressional Democrats said they would investigate.

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