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Democrats To Sue If They Don’t Win Elections

From those lovers of honest elections at the New York Times:

A Democratic volunteer in Detroit, Jordan Rossen, 21, preparing bibs Friday for volunteers who will be at polling stations on Election Day.

As Vote Nears, Parties Prepare for Legal Fights

November 4, 2006
By IAN URBINA

WASHINGTON, Nov. 3 — A team of lawyers for the Democratic Party has been arguing with postal officials in Columbus, Ohio, trying to persuade them to process thousands of absentee ballots that have arrived with insufficient postage…

Democrats say they are most concerned that voters will be prevented from voting by long lines or poll workers’ demanding unnecessary forms of identification.

Republicans say they are guarding against ineligible people trying to vote.

The parties are sending their largest concentrations of lawyers to states with the tightest races like Maryland, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee. Most of them are unpaid volunteers, though many from large firms are working pro bono to meet their firms’ expectation for hours of public service.

On Saturday and Sunday, hundreds of the 7,000 lawyers who are working on the election for the Democratic National Committee will board planes for Arizona, Florida, Maryland, Missouri, Ohio and 13 other states.

Their task is to reinforce local teams where party officials say they there is the greatest potential for long lines, voter intimidation or confusion at the polls and where they may need to file court petitions to keep polls open late.

“We’re not going to make the mistake we did last time, which was to wait until after the election for litigation,” said Chris Redfern, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party.

That party has spent $250,000 in legal fees on suits over new electronic voting machines and a voter identification law. The Republican National Committee is shipping out 150 lawyers on Monday to help hundreds of local lawyers in Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Tennessee and other states answering phones and working at polling stations policing against voter fraud.

“What is unfortunate is that it appears Democrats are following their playbook from 2004 and alleging voter suppression where it does not exist, in an effort to launch a pre-emptive strike,” said Tracey Schmitt, spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee.

It is not just parties gearing up.

In its largest mobilization ever for a non-presidential election, the Justice Department will dispatch about 800 lawyers to potentially troubled polling locations in 65 cities in 20 states to ensure voting rights laws are obeyed.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the N.A.A.C.P. and the People for the American Way Foundation will jointly have 2,000 lawyers fanning out across 20 states

Nathaniel Persily, a professor of election law at the University of Pennsylvania, said Democrats were responding to the election problems of 2000, when they felt outmatched by Republican lawyers in Florida.

Lawyers and voting experts say they are especially watching the states with new voter identification laws, where they expect the laws to cause confusion and possible contention. Some of the new laws, in Arizona, Georgia, Indiana and Missouri, are being litigated. Voting rights groups in those states say they intend to interview people turned away because of a lack of proper identification.

In St. Louis, a lawyer directing the Democrats’ legal efforts, Shonagh Clements, said she was prodding officials to obtain credentials for 300 lawyers, many of whom she plans to train on Sunday to work as poll challengers.

“We’re doing a lot of sprinting just to get through the weekend,” Ms. Clements said.

In Maryland, the pace is similarly frenetic. This week, Democratic lawyers have been combing through a Republican manual for poll workers acquired by a Democratic operative that gives instructions on aggressively challenging voters’ credentials. Aside from looking for illegalities in the document, Democrats have been writing a manual to counter the Republican booklet, instructing their poll workers how to watch for overzealous Republican poll watchers.

Officials from both parties say Maryland is ripe for litigation and voting problems because the governor has voiced skepticism about the dependability of electronic voting machines.

As a result, a record number of voters have filed absentee ballots.

Experts say those are more susceptible to fraud and demands for recounts.

“Unfortunately, the Maryland Democratic Party wants to have this election decided in the courts, with their 400 roving attorneys,” said Audra Miller, spokeswoman for the Republican Party….

Mary Ellen Gurewitz, a lawyer in Detroit for the Michigan Democratic Party, which is dispatching 800 lawyers statewide, said she hoped to catch the problem in advance.

“Many more votes are lost from incompetent election administration than voter suppression,” Ms. Gurewitz said. “So we’re going to minority neighborhoods in Detroit, Lansing and Flint, because that’s where we know the Republican challengers will try to contest voters’ qualifications.” …

When was the last time the Republicans challenged an election outcome — even when they should have?

But The Times pretends that both sides are threatening lawsuits if things don't go their way, when in fact it is as ever just the Democrats.

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, November 4th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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