/ October 20, 2008

Expect Long Lines On Election Day

An estimated two million new voters registered to vote in the 2008 presidential election and a record turnout is expected. Many worry about voter fraud, but Nate Persily, a Columbia University law professor, warns that the bigger danger for November 4th is going to be managing the election day crowds and technology.

Even though states are doing the best they can to train their poll workers, the large voter turnout is going to magnify the problems that have always existed in presidential elections, Persily said in an interview this week. He points to examples like the long lines that Ohio faced in 2004 and election technology as potential voter obstacles.

The worry, of course, is that litigation will follow the election. New suits are already filed in Ohio almost every day. Early voting is an imperfect solution because the sheer volume of early/absentee votes in states that allow no fault absentee voting will probably constitute cause to challenge the result.

Additionally, states that have always been “safe” red states (North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado) are finding themselves on the front lines of the battle ground. Election results in these states have not traditionally been challenged, and experts worry that they might not be prepared to protect their election practices.

Then, of course, there’s the question of whether Ben and Jerry’s is breaking federal law by promising to give out free ice cream to encourage voter turnout. . . .

Source: Election Law Blog and The Takeaway

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