By Kerry Sanders Correspondent
NBC News
updated 11/1/2004 7:22:37 PM ET 2004-11-02T00:22:37

There were more historic lines in Florida Monday, with voters waiting up to five hours to cast ballots.

"We just want a fair election. This time!" said 76-year-old voter Edna Justice in Palm Beach.

There's no shortage of groups watching the once-troubled election process in Florida this year, including the United States Justice Department, independent monitors and volunteer lawyers mobilized by both parties.

More than 3,000 attorneys are swarming the state for the Democratic party alone.

"Our job is to put in place a system so that when voters show up to vote at the polls and they want to vote that they're not turned away," says Chuck Lichtman, Special Lead Counsel for the Kerry campaign in Florida.

"They're doing their civic duty," says Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla. "They're just not sure it's going to count."

Monday’s scenes are already reminiscent of Florida in 2000. Back then teams examined questionable paper ballots. Monday it was absentee ballots they questioned — hundreds of which were rejected for missing signatures or signatures that didn't match those on file.

Drawing battle lines, Democrats sent Republican lawyers a warning that, if they challenge a voter, "the challenge process must not be abused" and, if it amounts to intimidations, "it is a crime."

Republicans say they're simply doing what the law allows to fight voter fraud.

"Republicans are not doing anything. We just want every vote to count," says Reeve Bright, Republican legal counsel.

Nonetheless, in Florida, where the last presidential election was decided by the United States Supreme Court, there are fears it could happen again.

"The unfortunate potential here is that the team with the best lawyer wins," says legal expert Guy Lewis.

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