Preemptive 'war:' Florida Dems sue GOP over unused tactic

Miami HeraldNovember 2, 2008 

It may be the peak of the 2008 presidential election season, but the Florida Democratic Party is taking a trip down memory lane with the first voter lawsuit filed against the GOP.

This time, it's not about ballot recounts, as in Gore v. Bush in 2000. It's a Democratic legal salvo accusing the Republicans of plotting a last-minute challenge of registered voters with potentially bad addresses, which may prevent them from casting a regular ballot at the polls Tuesday.

The lawsuit, filed in Leon County last week, cites alleged evidence of Republicans trying to ''cage'' a Duval County voter and of a GOP sheriff's candidate challenging some 300 voters in Glades County. Caging is the term for sending mail to voters in a bid to identify, by the undelivered pieces, who might have moved from their address on the registration rolls.

''This is above politics,'' said state Democratic Party spokesman Eric Jotkoff. "This is about our foundation of democracy.''

Not so, said his GOP counterpart, who called the lawsuit ''bogus'' and insisted the Republicans have no intention of challenging voters at the polls.

''They're playing off the fears of Florida voters,'' said state GOP spokeswoman Erin VanSickle. "People still have memories of 2000.''

Before last week, top Democratic lawyers seemed reluctant to go to court with their Republican adversaries before Election Day.

But that all changed on Tuesday, when the state Democratic Party joined two Democrats registered to vote in Duval and Glades counties in a lawsuit. They're trying to convince a Leon County judge to stop the Republicans from doing something they haven't actually done -- submit challenge lists of registered Democratic voters with questionable addresses to supervisors of elections throughout Florida.

State Circuit Judge P. Kevin Davey has not made a decision yet.

Read the full story at MiamiHerald.com

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