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If Election Outcomes are Unclear, Lawyers Will Get Legally Involved

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Who doesn’t remember the Presidential Election of 2000? Americans didn’t find out who was legally their President until the Supreme Court made its ruling. Or in 2004 when Sen. Kerry refused to concede initially because of uncounted ballots in Ohio? These instances are harsh reminders of how legally messy elections can be. Lawyers and candidates are preparing for any mishaps come November 6.

Key Electoral College Votes
With the Electoral College, we all know it is possible to win the popular vote but lose the election. When President George W. Bush won Florida by less than 1000 votes it became clear that litigation could make or break an election. That’s why both parties have key lawyers in battleground states that could swing the election and are placing special emphasis on the big two: Ohio and Florida.

What Could Go Wrong
The Obama/Biden campaign is relying on computers and the Romney/Ryan campaign has a smartphone app to both track any mishaps at the polls. Poll monitors will also be placed by both parties. “Electioneering” is prohibited by most polls and campaigning while in line may be crossing that line. Voter intimidation, massive inconsistencies in voting response, and voting officials misleading voters with incorrect information are all issues that have been brought up in this crucial election.

The Uncounted
Absentee ballots and provisional votes are on lawyer’s radars this election year to make sure everything is properly and legally counted by election officials. It could be possible that Americans won’t know who the next president will be until November 17. According to a New York University study, 11% of people that are of eligible voting age lack government-issued photo IDs. Those folks may not be able to vote on new laws at the polls this year. New laws, like the Voter ID Laws in some states, may confuse voters on Election Day for those who aren’t used to voting with a Photo ID. These new laws may impact who is able to vote, and discourage eligible voters. Some who criticize voter ID laws liken it to the illegal “poll tax” or back to the Jim Crow disenfranchisement laws of Reconstruction. Others believe that it helps cut down on voting fraud. If one thing is for certain, it could lead to litigation in the future, especially after the election.

These are just a few of the ways that lawyers could get involved with the election this year. Remember to vote and to bring proper materials to the polls this year!
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