Election Day is still weeks away, but both parties are already gearing up for post-election legal battles over the House and Senate race outcomes. Recounts in close races are only one scenario among many that party operatives refer to as “overtime” or “post-
election activities.” Lawyers and campaign committees are trying to be ready for whatever they may face on the morning of Nov. 7. “On a weekly basis, we have been doing training with lawyers in key districts,” a national GOP operative said. “Each state is different; each process is different.” Party committees are also actively fundraising to cover post-election legal fees. Aides say that elections can be lost after the polls have closed and that being caught unprepared for a post-election dispute could be fatal to a campaign. One Democratic operative said he considers preparations for legal challenges as important as get-out-the-vote efforts.
Parties want their legal teams and trained observers in place when election officials begin officially canvassing the votes. The party representatives monitor the process to ensure rules are being followed. “The next day, with or without you, election officials will start doing the canvass,” said Arizona attorney and political operative Chris DeRose, who has participated in post-election legal matters for local and federal Republican campaigns. Party committees pay particular attention to races expected to be close. Lawyers have already been assigned to some of those contests. The committees maintain lists of personnel experienced in post-election activities. Some are local talent, others are from Washington, D.C. “Where there are local attorneys who are part of the program, who are trained, that is preferable,” the GOP strategist said. “Where there is no such thing, there are Washington folks who can be deployed.”