Earlier this month, just ahead of Indiana’s voter registration deadline, state police executed a search warrant at the office of an organization that had set out to register black voters in a state with the worst voter turnout in the country. Officers conducted their search on the Indiana Voter Registration Project’s headquarters just a few weeks after Republican Secretary of State Connie Lawson sent a letter to state election officials warning that “nefarious actors are operating” in the Hoosier state and asking them to inform authorities if they received any voter registration forms from the group. The letter from Lawson ― who, when she was a state legislator, co-sponsored Indiana’s controversial voter ID law ― amounted to “the voter suppression equivalent of an Amber alert,” said Craig Varoga, the president of Patriot Majority USA, a liberal nonprofit group that ran the Indiana Voter Registration Project. The publicity surrounding the actions taken by Lawson and Indiana’s state police have cast a shadow over the nonprofits, with many stories accusing them of voter fraud.
Mississippi: Voting rights activists fret over loss of election observers in Mississippi | The Kansas City Star
November’s presidential election is the first in more than 50 years in which the federal government won’t send a full complement of specially trained observers to monitor elections in states, like Mississippi, with long records of discriminatory voting practices. After the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder weakened a core provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the U.S. Department of Justice can deploy special election observers from the Office of Personnel Management only where authorized by a court order. Because of that requirement, the department will deploy a smaller number of its own staff attorneys and other personnel to monitor elections next month in roughly half the states. Unlike the special observers, the department staffers won’t have the authority to view activity inside polling places and locations where votes are tallied unless they get approval from local officials. That potential loss of access to real-time voting operations is causing concern among civil- and voting-rights activists about the integrity of Mississippi’s vote process.
Concerns over voter fraud, cyber breaches and voter intimidate loom as Nevada voters prepare to participate in early voting starting Saturday. More than 60 percent of Nevada voters will cast their ballots early. Elections officials say they are confident and ready to protect the integrity of the voting process. In Clark County, there are roughly 4,900 electronic voting machines and 97 early voting locations set up throughout the county. Joe Gloria is the registrar of Clark County Voters and maintains that the voting system is secure. Concerns over voter fraud have been fueled through accusations by Donald Trump in recent days despite multiple reports disputing his claims. “Voter fraud is all too common and then they criticize us for saying that,” Trump said to a group of supporters recently.
More than 12,500 Rhode Islanders who used the “upgraded” Division of Motor Vehicles computer system over the summer to register to vote or update their voter information while renewing their driver’s licenses were inadvertently categorized as “unaffiliated,” whether they were or not. The state Department of Revenue director, Robert S. Hull, who oversees the DMV, said Friday that the DMV “was made aware” of the problem midweek, and is “working diligently with the secretary of state’s office and our vendor — SAFRAN MorphoTrust USA — to make sure that all voter registration information received through the DMV is accurate and up to date.” The vendor stated it expects to fix the problem by the end of next week.
Texas: Officials prepare for uncertainty, confusion as early voting begins Monday | Houston Chronicle
Harris County politicos are bracing for uncertainty with Monday’s start to early balloting, as many voters remain confused about Texas’ voter identification requirements and Donald Trump continues to warn – without proof – of a “rigged election.” … Amid the tumult, local Democrats eager to keep tabs on balloting have rushed to train as poll watchers. “Why are the Democrats gearing up? Well it’s because the Republican presidential nominee is saying he’s not going to abide by the results. He’s saying the election is rigged,” said Harris County Democratic Party Chair Lane Lewis, projecting that roughly 180 people will complete one of the party’s poll watching courses. The Democratic Party certified just 20-30 poll watchers for the 2012 general election, Lewis said.
Wisconsin: Little-known change to Wisconsin voting law could affect voters who plan to mail in absentee ballots this November | Wisconsin State Journal
Voters who mail in their absentee ballots have an earlier deadline to do so this year under a new state law that took effect last month. Under the law the absentee ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 8, in order to count. Previously, mail-in absentee ballots had to be postmarked by Election Day and received by a clerk’s office by 4 p.m. on the next Friday. The new law is one of a handful of changes to voting rules that could trip up some of the half-million to a million people in the state who only turn out to vote once every four years for presidential elections. The most substantial change for them will be the new voter ID requirement, which critics fear will cause long lines on Election Day and result in some eligible voters being turned away at the polls. Supporters say the requirement will prevent voter fraud, though incidents of illegal voter impersonation are exceptionally rare.
Iceland’s national elections take place on Saturday, and at present, a radical fringe party could be heading for the win. One in five Icelanders favor the Pirate Party, according to an online opinion poll run by the Social Science Research Institute at the University of Iceland, the Iceland Monitor reports. The results of the poll put the Pirates in the lead with 22.6%, ahead of the incumbent center-right Independence party by one and a half points. From its beginnings in the radical margins four years ago, to its position at the center point — and counterpoint — of mainstream Icelandic politics today, the rise of Iceland’s Pirate Party has been short and sharp.
Lithuania: Center-right opposition claims victory in Lithuania vote, to start coalition talks | Reuters
Lithuania’s center-right opposition Peasants and Greens party declared victory after a second round of voting in a general election on Sunday and said it would start negotiations with the Homeland Union and Social Democrats over forming a coalition government. The Peasants and Greens won 54 seats in the 141-member parliament, making it the biggest party, results published by the Lithuanian election commission showed. “Our government will be transparent, responsible, professional and resolute,” Saulius Skvernelis, the man who led the party’s election campaign and is now its candidate to be the next prime minister, told Reuters. The result is likely to mean that Lithuania’s prime minister will come from a party other than the centre-left Social Democrats or the center-right Homeland Union for the first time in 15 years. “I think people got fed up,” Skvernelis said.
Spain: Political Impasse Ends as Socialist Party Clears Way for Rajoy’s Re-election | Wall Street Journal
Mariano Rajoy, a prominent target of the antiestablishment fervor rising across Europe, was assured of re-election as prime minister when his Socialist rivals conceded defeat Sunday, ending Spain’s 10-month leadership impasse. Socialist leaders, in a reversal, instructed their party’s lawmakers to abstain when Parliament considers his candidacy next weekend, depriving other opposition parties of the votes needed to keep blocking the conservative incumbent. The Socialists, distant runners-up to Mr. Rajoy in two elections of deadlocked parliaments since December, said they feared a deeper loss if a third election was required. The Socialist leadership committee took Sunday’s decision by a vote of 139 to 96. Mr. Rajoy oversaw Spain’s recovery from its worst postwar recession but met a populist backlash over austerity policies and corruption scandals. The impasse has kept the 61-year-old leader suspended between victory and defeat, his powers reduced to those of a caretaker. On Sunday, he emerged as a consummate survivor, demonstrating the uneven impact of the Continent’s insurgent protest parties.
Venezuela’s Congress on Sunday declared that the government had staged a coup by blocking a drive to recall President Nicolas Maduro in a raucous legislative session that was interrupted when his supporters stormed the chamber. Opposition lawmakers vowed to put Maduro on trial after a court friendly to his socialist administration on Thursday suspended their campaign to collect signatures to hold a referendum on removing the deeply-unpopular president. Lawmaker Julio Borges said the opposition-led congress is now in open rebellion after a majority of its members voted that the decision constituted a coup with government participation. “We will bring a political trial against President Nicolas Maduro to get to the bottom of his role in the break with democracy and human rights here,” Borges said.
Donald Trump used the final presidential debate with Hillary Clinton to declare he would keep the country “in suspense” over whether he would accept the outcome of November’s election. The Washington post noted that “when we hold elections, the losing party acknowledges the legitimacy of the winner, and the winner allows the loser to survive to fight another day. Now, for the first time in modern history, a major-party candidate rejects both sides of that equation.” In an oped that appeared in The Hill, Verified Voting President Pamela Smith observed “Trump has supplied no evidence our voting systems are “rigged”—and to make such a claim in advance of most polls even opening is corrosive to our democratic system and the peaceful transference of power that we have exercised for centuries.” Federal appellate judges questioned assertions by state attorneys and their Republican Party allies that a new Arizona law outlawing “ballot harvesting” does not target minorities. A federal judge in Tallahassee declared that Florida must provide a method for voters to fix signature problems that might arise when they vote by mail in the presidential election.Indiana State Police Supt. Douglas Carter suggested that investigators had uncovered several instances of voter fraud in the state, an allegation that adds fuel to a fiery debate over whether elections are “rigged” and subject to abuse. A federal appeals court laid out the legal reasoning behind its decision earlier this month that allowed thousands of Kansas residents to register to vote without providing documents proving their U.S. citizenship. As a result of a court ruling, Ohio voters who were improperly removed from the rolls after not casting a ballot for several years will be allowed to vote in the November general election. In November, Pennsylvania will once again use voting technology from the ’80s made by the companies that don’t exist anymore. A federal judge extended the voter registration period in Virginia, after the state’s online system crashed, preventing an unknown number of voters from getting on the rolls. A ruling by the Democratic Republic of Congo’s top court approving an electoral commission request to postpone the country’s presidential election by 18 months has compounded fears President Joseph Kabila may try to extend his rule for a third term and leaders of Venezuela’s opposition called on citizens to take to the streets after the country’s electoral commission suspended a drive for a referendum to remove President Nicolás Maduro.
National: Donald Trump refuses to say if he will accept election result in final debate | The Guardian
Donald Trump used the final presidential debate with Hillary Clinton to declare he would keep the country “in suspense” over whether he would accept the outcome of November’s election. The Republican nominee’s refusal to endorse the results of the election, unheard of in American history, capped a fractious debate in which he clashed with Clinton over abortion, gun rights, immigration and foreign policy. In one of the final exchanges Trump called his rival for the White House “such a nasty woman” after she attacked his personal record on paying no income tax for years. However, it was Trump’s refusal to accept the outcome of an election he is currently projected to lose that will stand out from Wednesday night’s ill-tempered clash. “I will look at it at the time,” Trump said, when pressed by Fox News moderator Chris Wallace, who pointed out Trump was breaking with centuries of peaceful transition of power. “I will keep you in suspense,” Trump said.
Editorials: Trump poses an unprecedented threat to the peaceful transition of power | The Washington Post
WHAT HAS allowed the United States to last for so long as a democracy, when so many other countries have failed? There are many factors, but none is more fundamental than this: When we hold elections, the losing party acknowledges the legitimacy of the winner, and the winner allows the loser to survive to fight another day. Now, for the first time in modern history, a major-party candidate rejects both sides of that equation. If he loses, Donald Trump says, it will be due to cheating that makes the result illegitimate. If he wins, he will imprison his defeated opponent. Many Americans may not have given much thought to what a breathtaking departure this represents, because until now we have had the luxury of never having to think about such things. We have been able to take for granted the quadrennial peaceful transition of power. We watch from a distance when political parties in one foreign country or another take up arms after losing an election. We look, as at something that could never happen here, when a foreign leader sends an opponent to jail or into exile. This can happen in Zimbabwe, we think, or Russia, or Cambodia, but not here. Not in the United States.
I serve as President of Verified Voting, a voting security organization that seeks to strengthen democracy by working to ensure that on Election Day, Americans have confidence that their votes will be counted as we intended to cast them. Election officials, security experts and advocates have been working together around the country toward that goal, at a level that also is unprecedented.
Elections are administered by local officials. America doesn’t have one monolithic national voting system the way there is in other countries. We have thousands of them, operating under state and local supervision.
In recent years, the way in which America votes has trended toward increasingly reliable and verifiable methods. More than 75 percent of Americans will vote this election on paper ballots or on voting machines with voter verifiable paper trails. That’s more than in past elections, including 2012 and 2014. (You can check out how your local area votes on our map of voting systems, at http://verifiedvoting.org/verifier ) That means more voters than ever will be voting on recountable, auditable systems.
Why is that important? Because it offers officials a way to demonstrate to the loser of an election and the public that yes, they really did get fewer votes than their opponent or opponents.This is a nonpartisan issue. If you lose an election because something went wrong with a voting system somewhere, that’s fundamentally unfair. The more checks and balances we have in place (such as paper backup trails and audits), the greater our ability to withstand tampering or just general malfunction.
That’s not to say that our systems have no vulnerabilities. We have a higher degree of reliability in our election systems than in the past, but there’s still work to be done. What’s notable is that more is being done to ensure security this year than ever before.
Federal appellate judges on Wednesday questioned assertions by attorneys for the state and its Republican Party allies that a new law outlawing “ballot harvesting” does not target minorities. Assistant Attorney General Karen Hartman-Tellez argued that the law, approved earlier this year, is a legitimate — and legal — effort by the Republican-controlled legislature to ensure the integrity of elections. She conceded that making it a felony to collect the ballots of others might result in some inconvenience. But Hartman-Tellez said there was no proof that minorities would be harder hit.
Florida: Citing ‘obscene’ disenfranchisement, federal judge hands Democrats another Florida court victory | Miami Herald
Calling existing rules “obscene” disenfranchisement, a federal judge in Tallahassee declared late Sunday that Florida must provide a method for voters to fix signature problems that might arise when they vote by mail in the presidential election. U.S. District Judge Mark Walker’s ruling was a victory for the Florida Democratic Party and the Democratic National Committee, which sued the state Oct. 3 arguing Florida canvassing boards shouldn’t immediately reject a ballot if a voter’s signature doesn’t match the one on file. The state gives voters who forget to sign their mail ballots a chance to fix the problem before Election Day — but doesn’t offer voters with mismatched signatures the same opportunity. Walker ruled the “bizarre” double-standard was unconstitutional. “It is illogical, irrational, and patently bizarre for the State of Florida to withhold the opportunity to cure from mismatched-signature voters while providing that same opportunity to no-signature voters,” he wrote. “And in doing so, the State of Florida has categorically disenfranchised thousands of voters arguably for no reason other than they have poor handwriting or their handwriting has changed over time.”
Indiana’s top cop suggested Friday that investigators had uncovered several instances of voter fraud in the state, an allegation that adds fuel to a fiery debate over whether elections are “rigged” and subject to abuse. Indiana State Police Supt. Douglas Carter said in a local TV interview that Gov. Mike Pence “absolutely did not misspeak” this week when he warned supporters of potential voter fraud during a campaign stop in Nevada. Carter said he believed there was voter fraud in “every state,” including Indiana. Carter refused to provide details about how many instances of voter fraud police have found, or the exact nature of the fraud — whether investigators found, for example, cases of people registering to vote multiple times or whether those ineligible to vote tried to register. … Experts have found voter fraud to be extremely rare, with one study from a Loyola Law School professor finding just 31 credible claims of fraud amid more than 1 billion ballots cast since 2000. The head elections officers in most presidential battleground states are Republicans. … Officials for Indiana Voter Registration Project, which is connected to Washington-based nonprofit Patriot Majority USA, have denied the fraud accusations and said Pence and other Republicans are targeting the group to suppress votes.
A federal appeals court laid out on Wednesday the legal reasoning behind its decision earlier this month that allowed thousands of Kansas residents to register to vote without providing documents proving their U.S. citizenship. The 85-page opinion from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals came a day after voter registration closed in Kansas for the November election. The appeals court had earlier this month upheld a preliminary injunction that forced Kansas to register people who filled out voter applications at motor vehicle offices. “There can be no dispute that the right to vote is a constitutionally protected fundamental right,” the appeals court wrote. The opinion released Wednesday essentially explained why the appeals court upheld U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson’s preliminary injunction requiring the state to register thousands of people for federal elections. The case was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of several prospective voters and the League of Women Voters.
Ohio: Voters improperly removed from rolls can vote in November election, court rules | Cleveland Plain Dealer
Ohio voters who were improperly removed from the rolls after not casting a ballot for several years will be allowed to vote in the November general election. A federal appellate court ruled last month that Ohio’s practice of occasionally canceling voter registrations after six years of inactivity was illegal. A U.S. District Court decision issued Wednesday night mandates that voters purged since Jan. 1, 2011 be allowed to cast provisional ballots. Ballots will count if the voter lives in the same county as they were registered in. Secretary of State Jon Husted had asked the court to allow provisional voting for voters pulled from the rolls in 2015. Voter rights advocates who had filed the lawsuit asked for ballots to be counted for voters removed in 2011, 2013 and 2015. Husted said Wednesday that his office will fully comply with the judge’s order and continue focusing on administering a smooth election. “Our main concern was to protect the integrity of the election by not having to reinstate deceased voters, those who moved out of state, or are otherwise ineligible,” Husted said in a statement.
Pennsylvania: Aging voting machines could be ‘nightmare scenario’ in the event of a disputed election | Los Angeles Times
On election day, voters in Pennsylvania will be touching the lighted buttons on electronic vote counters that were once seen as the solution to messy paper ballots. But in the event of a disputed election, this battleground state — one of the few that relies almost entirely on computerized voting, with no paper backup — could end up creating a far bigger mess. Stored in a locked warehouse near downtown Harrisburg, the 1980s-era voting machines used by Dauphin County look like discarded washing machines lined up in rows. When unfolded and powered up, the gray metal boxes become the familiar voting booth, complete with a curtain for privacy. Much may rest on the reliability and security of these aging machines after an unprecedentedly combative presidential campaign that is ending with Donald Trump warning repeatedly of a “rigged election” and his refusal at Wednesday’s debate to commit to accepting the results on Nov. 8. … But computer experts says the old electronic voting machines have a hidden flaw that worries them in the event of a very close election. The machines do not produce a paper ballot or receipt, leaving nothing to be recounted if the election outcome were in doubt, such as in 2000, when the nation awaited anxiously for Florida to reexamine those hanging chads.
Virginia: Voter registration system crashes, preventing some from signing up in time | The Washington Post
A civil rights group filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday to force Virginia to extend its voter registration period after the state’s online system crashed Monday, the last day to register, preventing an unknown number of voters from getting on the rolls. One registrar estimated that “tens of thousands” of Virginians had been unable to register by the cutoff at 11:59 p.m. Monday, although the state elections commissioner, Edgardo Cortés, said the number was unknown. The meltdown prompted a Washington-based civil rights group to file the lawsuit on behalf of Kathy and Michael Kern, a Charlottesville couple who tried multiple times Sunday and Monday to register without success. Two nonprofit groups involved in voter-registration drives — New Virginia Majority Education Fund and Virginia Civic Engagement Table — also are plaintiffs.
A ruling by the Democratic Republic of Congo’s top court approving an electoral commission request to postpone the country’s presidential election by 18 months has compounded fears President Joseph Kabila may try to extend his rule for a third term. The constitutional court ruled in favour of the electoral commission on Monday, which filed a petition last month to delay the November poll until April 2018, saying it lacked the funds and time to ensure the registration of all new voters. “After a few hours of [deliberation] DR Congo’s highest court decided to approve the electoral commission’s request, which asked for a deferment of the presidential election that was due to be held before the end of the year,” FRANCE 24’s Thomas Nicolon reported from the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital Kinshasa. “But both the electoral commission and the constitutional court agreed that the enlistment of all new voters was a priority.”
Leaders of Venezuela’s opposition on Friday angrily called on citizens to take to the streets after the country’s electoral commission suspended a drive for a referendum to remove President Nicolás Maduro. Speaking to a packed news conference, Henrique Capriles, a two-time presidential candidate, described the commission’s decision as a “coup” intended to keep Mr. Maduro in power. “We warned that this could happen, and this is exactly what we wanted to avoid with the referendum,” Mr. Capriles said. “This only deepens the crisis that Venezuelans are living through.” The battle over the recall movement appeared to escalate the conflict between the opposition and Mr. Maduro’s leftist government. Although the opposition controls the country’s congress, Mr. Maduro and his allies dominate all the other institutions of government, including the courts and the electoral commission. Mr. Maduro, blamed by many Venezuelans for the country’s economic collapse, has described the recall effort as a coup attempt.
Experts say the chances of hacking at the polls are remote, since voting machines aren’t typically connected to the internet. Still, research shows the technology behind most of these machines is grossly outdated. Forty-three states have voting machines that are at least a decade old, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonpartisan policy group at New York University’s Law School. Gregory Miller, co-founder of the Oset Institute, which works with election officials to update infrastructure, said most voting machines are running on outdated software like Windows 2000. “The largest problem here is that the PC-based equipment is based upon technology that is not only antiquated, but it is flat out obsolete,” Miller said. “Innovation in this space has devolved to a discussion of spare parts from Asia, and software patches from Eastern Europe.” Three main companies provide the vast majority of voting machines for U.S. elections — ES&S, Dominion Voting Systems and Hart InterCivic. The challenge facing the companies, according to Miller, is that states don’t have money to buy upgraded equipment, so companies don’t have the incentive to innovate.
This Nov. 8, even if you manage to be registered in time and have the right identification, there is something else that could stop you from exercising your right to vote. The ballot. Specifically, the ballot’s design. Bad ballot design gained national attention almost 16 years ago when Americans became unwilling experts in butterflies and chads. The now-infamous Palm Beach County butterfly ballot, which interlaced candidate names along a central column of punch holes, was so confusing that many voters accidentally voted for Patrick Buchanan instead of Al Gore. We’ve made some progress since then, but we still likely lose hundreds of thousands of votes every election year due to poor ballot design and instructions. In 2008 and 2010 alone, almost half a million people did not have their votes counted due to mistakes filling out the ballot. Bad ballot design also contributes to long lines on election day. And the effects are not the same for all people: the disenfranchised are disproportionately poor, minority, elderly and disabled.
National: Donald Trump’s refusal to concede an election loss to Hillary Clinton wouldn’t make any legal difference | McClatchy DC
So what really happens if Donald Trump refuses to concede the election if he loses to Hillary Clinton? Probably nothing legally, election experts say. Though considered an essential act to foster a peaceful post-election political transition of power, concessions by losing candidates are a formality – not a legal requirement. “Just saying the words ‘I concede’ have no legal effect,” said Richard Hasen, founding co-editor of the Election Journal and author of the Election Law Blog. “What would have a legal effect is if he filed for a recount or do some sort of election contest. In short, we don’t have a constitutional crisis on our hands if we don’t have a gracious concession on election night, even if the result appears a blowout,” Edward “Ned” Foley, author of “Ballot Battles: The History of Disputed Elections in the United States,” wrote on his blog last Friday.
National: GOP braces for Trump loss, roiled by refusal to accept election results | The Washington Post
A wave of apprehension and anguish swept the Republican Party on Thursday, with many GOP leaders alarmed by Donald Trump’s refusal to accept the outcome of the election and concluding that it is probably too late to salvage his flailing presidential campaign. As the Republican nominee reeled from a turbulent performance in the final debate here in Las Vegas, his party’s embattled senators and House members scrambled to protect their seats and preserve the GOP’s congressional majorities against what Republicans privately acknowledge could be a landslide victory for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. With 19 days until the election, the Republican Party is in a state of historic turmoil, encapsulated by Trump’s extraordinary debate declaration that he would leave the nation in “suspense” about whether he would recognize the results from an election he has claimed will be “rigged” or even “stolen.”
Donald Trump’s refusal to say whether he would accept the outcome of next month’s US presidential election if he were to lose is unprecedented and chilling, legal experts have said. But although the failure by a major party nominee to concede defeat on election night would throw American democracy into uncharted territory, from a legal standpoint, it would hardly make a difference, experts from across the political spectrum said. “Frankly, under our system, it is irrelevant whether the loser concedes or not,” said James Bopp, the conservative constitutional lawyer. “The vote of the electoral college is conclusive.” … Trump’s reticence does not appear to be shared by those closest to him. Just hours before the debate, Trump’s running mate Mike Pence, his campaign manager Kellyanne Conway and his daughter, Ivanka Trump, all insisted that the campaign would accept the result of the election.
Donald Trump loyalists will attempt to conduct their own crowd-funded exit polling on election day, ostensibly due to fears that electronic voting machines in certain areas may have been “rigged”, the Guardian has learned. But the effort, led by Trump’s notorious informal adviser Roger Stone, will focus on 600 different precincts in nine Democrat-leaning cities with large minority populations, a tactic branded highly irregular by experts, who suggested that organizers could potentially use the polling as a way to intimidate voters. Stone told the Guardian that around 1,300 volunteers from the controversial Citizens for Trump grassroots coalition would conduct exit polling in Cleveland, Detroit, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Fort Lauderdale, Charlotte, Richmond and Fayetteville – all locations in pivotal swing states. Media organizations and political campaigns conduct exit polling for all major elections, but David Paleologos – a polling expert and director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center – said effective exit polling was done in bellwether precincts, not in areas likely to be dominated by a particular political party. “It doesn’t sound like that’s a traditional exit poll,” Paleologos said of Stone’s planned efforts. “It sounds like that’s just gathering data, in heavily Democratic areas for some purpose. It doesn’t sound like exit polling.”
Legal experts call it the worst-case scenario: The day after the election arrives and the outcome turns on a dispute in one state. As things stand now, the suggestion seems remote. But with Donald Trump refusing to promise he will accept the results of next month’s election, eyes naturally turn to the Supreme Court. The problem: there are only eight justices — four nominated by Republicans, four by Democrats. So what happens if they split, 4-4? “That’s the doomsday scenario,” veteran Supreme Court advocate Carter Phillips told an audience this fall, responding to a hypothetical question about a candidate who suspected the election was rigged and went to the courts. Phillips explained that if the court were to deadlock it would mean the justices were left to simply affirm a lower court opinion. Election law expert Joshua Douglas of the University of Kentucky College of Law says that power could end up resting with the lower courts, including even a state supreme court consisting of judges who were elected in a battleground state.