TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ A Florida judge ruled Friday that the state's top election official, a Republican, acted properly in refusing to accept any hand-counted ballots submitted late. Al Gore's campaign said it would appeal to the Florida Supreme Court.

The judge ruled that Secretary of State Katherine Harris acted within her authority in refusing to accept hand-counted presidential votes tallied after last Tuesday in the crucial state.

``We'll ask for a hearing as soon as possible,'' perhaps Saturday, said Warren Christopher, the former Clinton administration secretary of state overseeing the recount process for Gore.