The Justice Department said yesterday that 1,090 observers -- more than three times the number deployed in 2000 -- will be dispatched to polling places in 25 states on Election Day.

Federal observers will monitor voting in eight Florida counties -- including Broward, Dade and Palm Beach -- as well as communities in at least six other battleground states: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota and New Mexico.

The Justice Department is required to monitor polling places in 27 jurisdictions covered by the Voting Rights Act or related court orders.

Some Democrats and voting-rights groups have complained that the Justice Department and Attorney General John D. Ashcroft have focused their efforts primarily on fraud allegations levied by Republicans, rather than on ensuring that minority and elderly voters are not discouraged from voting.

-- Dan Eggen

Florida GOP Scrutinizes Felon Voters

Republicans railed yesterday against Florida's error-plagued list of felons who are ineligible to vote.

Al Cardenas, co-chairman of the Bush-Cheney campaign in Florida, said Republican research shows 14,000 felons who have not had their voting rights restored are registered to vote in the state. At least 925 ineligible felons have voted early or asked for absentee ballots, said Cardenas, who has referred his accusations to the Florida Secretary of State's office.

"In essence, they've committed another felony" by voting, Cardenas said. "Frankly, I have a feeling a lot of these people have been conned by groups telling them it's okay to vote."

-- Manuel Roig-Franzia

Iowa to Set Aside Ballots Cast in Wrong Precincts

Iowa's attorney general said yesterday that election officials will not count ballots cast in the wrong precincts on election night but will set them aside in the event of a lawsuit to determine their legality.

Attorney General Thomas J. Miller said the best thing for elections officials to do is segregate the ballots so that if the election outcome in Iowa hinges on them, the parties can litigate the question.

-- Jo Becker