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Justice Dept. reviews N.J. ballot dispute

Oct. 3, 2002 at 1:54 PM

WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- The Justice Department is reviewing a request that Attorney General John Ashcroft intervene in the New Jersey ballot dispute, the department said Thursday.

A GOP letter asks Ashcroft to file suit under the Uniform and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act to keep New Jersey Democrats from replacing Sen. Robert Torricelli on the ballot.

A department spokesman said the letter is from the Republican members of the New Jersey congressional delegation.

"The Justice Department just received a copy of the letter and it has been given to the proper individuals and it will be reviewed" to see what, if any, action should be take, the spokesman said.

In a separate action, New Jersey Republicans asked the Supreme Court of the United States Thursday to block the substitution of Torricelli on that state's ballot.

The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that state Democrats could replace Torricelli, who has dropped out of the race because of ethics problems and declining support. State Democrats immediately picked former Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who retired in 2000, to replace him as their nominee.

But Republican nominee Doug Forrester asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block the state court's ruling until he can file his case before the justices that the ballot cannot legally be changed this close to an election.

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