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States brief - Florida appeal court rules unused 2000 butterfly ballots may be destroyed

[JURIST] Leading Friday's states brief, Florida's 1st District Court of Appeal has ruled [PDF text] that unused butterfly ballots from the 2000 presidential election can be destroyed as they are not public records. Chief Judge Charles J. Kahn, Jr. wrote that a ballot becomes public record when it is voted, but "the unused ballots, en masse, are no different than cases of blank papers held in a government office." A University of Florida history professor testified for the Plaintiff that the different styles of punch-cards had historical value. Under state law, election supervisors can either keep or destroy unused ballots with the permission of the Division of Elections [official website]. AP has more.

In other state legal news ...

  • The Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled [text] today that errant golf balls coming into a homeowner's yard constitute a "continuing trespass" and thus are an invasion of the homeowner's land. The decision overturned a Superior Court ruling that the homeowners had not shown the operation of the golf course constituted a nuisance. The Plaintiff, living near the 9th hole of a golf course, said over 1,800 balls were hit into her yard in 5 years. AP has more.

  • The Alabama House [official website] has passed a bill requiring mandatory castration for persons convicted of a violent sex crime against a child under 12 and lifetime electronic monitoring. The bill would also prevent convicted sex offenders from working or loitering within 500 feet of a school, park or business that educates or entertains children. A bill [text] passed by the Senate requires electronic monitoring for at least 10 years and does not have the castration requirement. Sex offender legislation that was proposed by Alabama Attorney General Troy King [Attorney General press release] has been heavily amended in the House bill, and amended once by the Senate. AP has more.

  • Alaska Attorney General David Marquez has issued a statement [PDF text] advising the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services [official website] that the US Supreme Court's ruling in Gonzales v. Raich [JURIST report] does not forbid the agency from registering medical marijuana users. State law, authorized by voter initiative in 1998, authorizes medical marijuana use provided the user registers with the state and provides a doctor's prescription. Alaska was considering suspending its program after the court decision. Both Oregon and California, who suspended their programs, have resumed them. Alaska's Anchorage Daily News has local coverage.

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