MIAMI - A coalition of unions sued Florida elections officials Tuesday, arguing that thousands of voters have been disenfranchised by the rejection of their voter registration forms.
The lawsuit is similar to one filed by Democrats last week. It accuses Secretary of State Glenda Hood of violating federal law for telling the state's 67 elections supervisors that they should reject incomplete voter-registration forms.
Hood's office told the supervisors to disqualify voters who failed to check a box confirming they are U.S. citizens, even if they signed an oath on the same form swearing they are. Officials have maintained that state and federal law require the box to be checked.
"Our argument stands across the board," said Hood spokeswoman Alia Faraj. "This is not an attempt by the state to do anything other than ensure there is uniformity in the process."
In addition to Hood, supervisors of elections from five counties are named as defendants.
"We think they are placing obstacles in the way of voters," said Judith Browne, an attorney for Washington-based Advancement Project, a racial justice organization involved in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit is one of several that have been filed in Florida, the site of the voting fiasco that held up the presidential race in 2000.
In a separate case, Volusia County said Tuesday that it will expand the number of early voting sites, less than a week after a lawsuit alleged the county would disenfranchise blacks by offering only one site in an area where few minorities live.
In Missouri, a federal judge ruled Tuesday that residents who vote from the wrong polling places, despite directions to go elsewhere, cannot have their votes counted.
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