Election Law

Political groups ready their legal teams in preparation for contentious midterm elections

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Armies of lawyers monitoring and working the upcoming midterm elections are gearing up for potential legal battles, Bloomberg reports.

The reason: unusually tight races around the country and battles over voting laws. Recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings may also have set the stage for more legal wrangling, including disputes over voter ID requirements. That can result in recounts and runoff elections. Bloomberg cites two campaigns in Georgia and Louisiana which are already being predicted to end in runoff elections, and which could determine control of the U.S. Senate.

Groups on both sides are being cagey about the precise details of their pre-election legal planning, but some information is known.

The Republican National Lawyers Association, for example, intends to complete 50 election-law training sessions for more than 1,000 lawyers, according to RNLA executive director Michael Thielen.

The Democratic National Committee has full-time staffers working on poll-access issues in 23 states, and is educating voters, preparing volunteers and helping election administrators–while also keeping their eyes open for potential litigation.

Other state and national groups have mustered lawyers for various specific possibilities, such as the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which is focusing on contentious state voting laws. The LCCRUL helped to sponsor a smartphone app called Election Protection, and others have also developed mobile apps to assist voters, poll workers and election monitors on Election Day.

“To the extent that anything gets a bit messy, that’s where the lawyers come in,” says Edward B. Foley, an election-law expert at the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University.

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