As Americans prepare to vote Tuesday in dozens of tight elections, the two major political parties and interest groups across the ideological spectrum already have lawyered up for potential problems at the polls or with election results. On Election Day, armies of partisan attorneys and poll watchers will be at the ready at voting sites and in war rooms in almost every state, scrutinizing nearly every aspect of the voting process and prepared to spring into action if they see something that could adversely impact their candidate or cause. “The parties are well lawyered up,” said Richard Hasen, a University of California, Irvine, law and political science professor and the author of “The Voting Wars: From 2000 to the Next Election Meltdown.” “It’s a tactic and a tool. It’s like an arms race.”
Call it the legacy of Bush v. Gore. The 2000 presidential contest between Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore came down to a 537-vote margin in Florida, weeks of court fights, and ultimately went to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Since 2000, when the parties felt, especially Democrats, they were caught flatfooted, they send lawyers to places where they expect close races,” Hasen said. “Campaigns now have boiler rooms where they sit and watch the polls. The most important thing is to have a (legal) infrastructure in place.”