updated 10/25/2004 3:56:03 PM ET 2004-10-25T19:56:03

The state will not be forced to create a paper record in case of recounts in elections on touch-screen voting machines, a federal judge ruled Monday.

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U.S. District Judge James I. Cohn ruled in favor of Secretary of State Glenda Hood and Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Theresa LePore.

The suit, filed by U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, a Boca Raton Democrat, sought a paper record for manual recounts in close elections like the contentious 2000 presidential race. He had been seeking a way to help determine voter intent when no votes were recorded, known as “undervotes.”

The state issued a new rule Oct. 14 for manual recounts to replace one thrown out by a state judge.

However, Wexler argued recounts aren’t possible with the paperless machines because there is nothing to review by hand. The machines produce a form showing votes and instances where no votes were recorded.

Cohn heard three days of testimony in the trial, calling it a “case is of great public importance” and promising a written order subject to quick appeal by the losing side.

In his ruling, Cohn said Wexler didn’t meet the legal burden required for issuing an injunction.

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