If you vote, you might very well be confused about what the rules will be when you go to cast your ballot this fall. There’s been a flood of new laws on things such as voter identification and early voting, and many of them are now being challenged in court. Some cases could drag on until Nov. 6, Election Day, and beyond. The outcomes will affect voters, and maybe even the results. Last week alone, a Pennsylvania judge rejected an effort to stop that state’s new voter ID law from going into effect. A federal panel blocked Florida’s plan to limit early voting hours. Another court is expected to rule on a Texas voter ID law any day now.
Edward Foley is an election expert at Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University, which maintains an online database of pending cases. Foley recalls the chaos of the 2000 presidential election, and says it’s better to work out the kinks now, before the ballots are cast. “If there is going to be lawsuits, it’s better to have them early rather than later,” he says. This year, Foley is closely watching cases in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania where the legal battles are especially intense. “I think everybody knows that they are potential swing states in the presidential election,” he says. “And the lawyers know that, and so they know which states might matter the most and where the voting rules might really make a difference.”
That’s one reason why the Obama campaign is suing Ohio for its cut in early voting hours. Early voters tend to be Democrats. Foley says another case, SEIU v. Husted, is also worth watching. Labor groups are challenging an Ohio law that would prevent a voter’s provisional ballot from counting if a pollworker sends the person to the wrong precinct. It sounds arcane, but Foley says 14,000 Ohio votes weren’t counted in 2008 for a similar reason. “If Ohio is where the margin of victory is a thousand, 2,000, 3,000, there’s going to be a fight over those ballots,” he says. A decision in that case is expected soon.
Full Article: Pre-Election Legal Battles Target Voting Rules : NPR.