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City Commissioners yesterday rejected a batch of petitions which requested that over 700 University area voters be prevented from voting in the November 6 general elections. Hundreds of Democratic and independent voters could have been stricken from the rolls after area Republicans challenged their eligibility earlier this month. Republicans in the 27th ward sought to remove voters -- most of them students -- who no longer reside at their registered addresses, and who had changed voting divisions since the last time they registered. Nick Raytik, chief of investigations for the City Commissioners, said that the commissioners denied all the petitions after determining that the Republicans did not properly serve notices to the voters who could have been disqualified. Many of the challenged voters were students who had changed dormitories or moved off campus since last registering. Although the Republicans' list included over 700 names, the actual number of voters affected is smaller, since some of those challenged are students who have graduated and left the area. On Monday, the commissioners heard testimony about the way in which the petition notices were served. Deputy City Solicitor Edward Schulgen said that notices must be personally served to the challenged individual, or to an adult who knows the residents at the challenged voter's address. Matthew Wolfe, the 27th Ward Republican leader who spearheaded the petition drive, said yesterday that notices were sometimes served to desk clerks at large dormitories because the addresses on registrations do not always specify room numbers. He said that desk clerks, who have access to student directories, are often best qualified to confirm whether challenged voters registered in the building have moved. Wolfe said that the Republicans served the notices in compliance with the law, and that the decision will be appealed. "We followed the statute and I believe that the courts are going to tell the commission that we made proper service in the case," Wolfe said. Wolfe added that he would like to see the rules of service clarified. In past years, Republicans have been successful in disqualifying Democratic and independent voters. 27th Ward Democratic Leader Kevin Vaughan said yesterday that the repeated challenges of the Republicans to the registrations are "unfair to the students." "My feeling is the City Commisioners made a wise decision and one I hope holds in favor of the students," Vaughan said.

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