US Officials Preparing For Lines And Lawsuits This Election Day

As the polls begin to open in America, officials are preparing to take on a multitude of issues that have already been growing within the past month.

More than 100 million Americans have already cast their ballots for the 2020 presidential election before the polls opened this Tuesday. This will likely reduce the amount of individuals who will turn up to vote in person this year, however, a lot of issues still remain. Citizens have already experienced waiting hours upon hours on line to vote early across the country while also enduring other issues such as machine malfunctions, under staffing, and navigating voting in the middle of a global health crisis. 

Voting rights groups across America are bracing for long lines, as many typical polling locations have been closed down due to the pandemic. It’s expected that thousands of partisan poll watchers will be stationed in balloting locations as well due to President Donald Trump’s campaign efforts that emphasized deploying volunteers to look for any voting abnormalities. 

The millions of mail-in ballots are also expected to delay the counting of votes once the polls officially close. This is especially true for Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as both states failed to pass laws in regards to processing absentee ballots. North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein recently spoke with the media to offer some positivity in light of these growing issues. 

“Look, the country is on edge, but voters should take comfort in knowing that they will be the ones who determine the winners of these elections — not any politicians, not any lawyers.”

Trump has continued to falsely claim that all votes are meant to be counted on Election Night, despite election officials’ constant warnings that it may take several days to finish counting all the ballots. If all the votes did need to be counted on Election Night it would likely greatly benefit the current president, as it’s expected more of his supporters will be voting in person while Democrats opted to have voted already through mail. 

Both presidential camps are expecting to receive a slew of legal confrontations/potential lawsuits due to all the changes in voting rules brought on by the pandemic and overall sense of voter suppression that’s been increasing throughout the country. There’s already been a litany of court cases brought up related to voting and how the ballots are being counted. 

Wisconsin’s chief election official, Meagan Wolfe, has already said the state’s unofficial results likely won’t be ready until Wednesday due in part to the increased number of absentee ballots this year. Michigan Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson doesn’t think her state will have completed results until Friday. Regardless of how long it takes, however, all votes will be counted one way or the other

“If Trump or some other candidate points to early, incomplete returns and declares victory, states will continue to count ballots until they are done and can certify the actual winner.”

Pennsylvania is projected to be the source of many post-election legal fights. Last month the US Supreme Court “declined to take up Republican challenge to a state Supreme Court ruling that absentee ballots could be accepted three days after Election Day, so long as they were postmarked by Tuesday, even if the postmark is not legible,” according to media reports

However, in that ruling some of the court’s conservative justices viewed the state’s decision as unconstitutional, arguing that the ballots that arrive late are being segregated in the case of legal disputes appearing. Trump has even gone so far to warn his supporters that he plans on dispatching his lawyers in key states like Pennsylvania “as soon as that election is over.”

Speaking of crucial states, in Florida – which accounts for 29 electoral votes – a spokesperson from the Biden campaign claims that they have about 4,000 lawyers currently mobilized to address any voting issues that appear this week. The spokesperson mentioned that the Democrats’ current voter protection team in Florida is twice the size it was in the 2016 election. 

This election also marks the first presidential race since 1980 where the Republican National Committee and the presidential nominee himself have worked together to monitor polling activity. For decades federal courts sharply restricted the TNC’s “ballot security,” however in 2018 a federal judge allowed those restrictions to expire. Now, republicans all across the nation are volunteering to monitor polling activity. At this point, there’s no saying how this election will end up, just make sure you make your voice heard and vote for the issues that truly matter to you.