Republican and Democratic camps are gearing up for the possibility of heated legal battles on Election Day, preparations that have taken on additional urgency following GOP nominee Donald Trump’s charges that the election will be rigged against him. Mr. Trump’s campaign is leaning on the Republican National Committee and state parties for recruiting lawyers and other legal preparations. Democratic officials and Hillary Clinton’s campaign, meanwhile, are preparing to address any potential voter intimidation and to help people navigate tighter voting rules in several GOP-led states. Building an extensive legal network has become more of a priority for political campaigns since Bush v. Gore. Lawyers are needed to respond to unexpected complications as voters go to the polls and to stay on top of any potential recounts in the event of razor-thin victories. However, since the disputed 2000 presidential election, there have been few major issues with election administration, and there is no evidence that significant election fraud has taken place.
Mr. Trump in recent months repeatedly has suggested—without offering evidence—that the election process is unfair. He also has been unwilling to say that he will accept the election results. But the Trump campaign’s legal preparations may leave the party at a disadvantage if election disputes emerge, say GOP operatives. Mr. Trump’s approach has raised concerns among party officials that his campaign’s efforts lag behind those of Mrs. Clinton, his Democratic rival, and previous GOP candidates.
Mr. Trump’s campaign is significantly smaller than Mrs. Clinton’s operation. On payroll, Mr. Trump had about 220 staffers in September compared with 815 paid employees on Mrs. Clinton’s campaign during the same period, according to campaign-finance records. Both campaigns are relying on volunteers for significant portions of their legal efforts. Mr. Trump’s ground game for turning out voters hasn’t been extensive, GOP officials say. That could leave the party with less data about its voters than in past elections and hamstring legal efforts in the event of recount battles, they said.
One lawyer with experience in past recounts said it is important to have data on expected voters by location, in addition to information on how many GOP supporters used early or absentee voting, or cast provisional ballots. Such information, combined with historical voting data, can help lawyers identify precincts with voting abnormalities. Without good data, GOP lawyers would be at a disadvantage, the lawyer said. The Trump campaign didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Full Article: Campaigns Brace for Election-Day Legal Battles – WSJ.