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ProPublica’s Guide to 2020 Election Laws and Lawsuits

ProPublica – “Regardless of who wins the presidency, courtroom battles seem almost certain. Here’s a layperson’s look at the states and laws that may determine the outcome. The run-up to Election Day this year has seen records for early voting (nearly 100 million people as of Monday) — and for the volume of election-related litigation. It’s unclear how long it will take for a victor to emerge in the presidential contest, particularly given the pandemic-driven surge in Americans casting ballots by mail, which will continue to be counted for several days after Election Day in some states. But one thing is certain: Unless there’s a near-landslide in either direction, we’re likely in for some intense legal combat. That’s not to say the lawsuits will have merit or that they’ll decide the election. They most likely won’t, according to legal experts. But the pandemic spawned a series of efforts to make voting safer, and that in turn triggered a partisan backlash in courtrooms in multiple states. After Election Day, the courtroom battles will shift into a new phase. Some preelection cases will continue on. These cases center chiefly on constitutional challenges to the status of mail-in ballots that arrive after Tuesday, including some fringe legal theories derived from 2000’s infamous Bush v. Gore Supreme Court decision. But for all the gnashing of teeth about the potential role of the Supreme Court, most litigation will take place in state courts, where there are well-worn processes in place for challenging election results. Challenges to election results very rarely succeed in changing the outcome of an election, legal scholars say, but that doesn’t mean the campaigns won’t take every shot they’ve got if the election is close…”

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