Signature matches. Late-arriving absentee votes. Drop boxes. Secrecy envelopes.
Democratic and Republican lawyers already have gone to court over these issues in the run-up to Tuesday's election. But the legal fights could take on new urgency, not to mention added vitriol, if a narrow margin in a battleground state is the difference between another four years for President Donald Trump or a Joe Biden administration. Both sides say they're ready, with thousands of lawyers on standby to march into court to make sure ballots get counted, or excluded. Since the 2000 presidential election, which was ultimately decided by the Supreme Court, both parties have enlisted legal teams to prepare for the unlikely event that voting wouldn't settle the contest. But this year, there is a near presumption that legal fights will ensue and that only a definitive outcome is likely to forestall them.
Most of the potential legal challenges are likely to stem from the huge increase in absentee balloting brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. In Pennsylvania, elections officials won't start processing those ballots until Election Day, and some counties have said they won't begin counting those votes until the following day. Mailed ballots that don’t come inside a secrecy envelope have to be discarded, under a state Supreme Court ruling.
Today on AirTalk, we’ll take a look at the legal preparations that both the Trump and Biden campaigns are taking in case of post-election challenges. If you have questions for our experts, join the live conversation by calling 866-893-5722.
With files from the Associated Press
Alanna Durkin Richer, legal affairs reporter for The Associated Press; she tweets at @aedurkinricher
Richard L. Hasen, Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine; he is the author of several books, his latest is “Election Meltdown: Dirty Tricks, Distrust, and the Threat to American Democracy” (Yale University Press, 2020); he tweets @rickhasen