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Obama, Romney teams 'lawyer up' for Election Day vote disputes

Thousands of partisan lawyers and poll-watchers have fanned out across the country, ready to fight over contested votes on Election Day. Nobody wants a repeat of Florida's contentious 2000 recount.

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In Ohio, for example, the Obama campaign sued the state when it tried to end early voting the weekend before the Nov. 6 election – a time when many African-American Ohioans vote on the way home from church as part of a “souls to the polls” effort. The Supreme Court of Ohio struck down the law.

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But in another memo last Friday, Bauer complained that a Romney campaign video used in Iowa instructed poll workers to check voters for photo identification even though the state does not require that, the AP reported. A Romney campaign official Friday dismissed the allegations as legal bluster. "We stand by the accuracy of our training materials," Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams said.

Meanwhile, the Romney campaign has signed up some 34,000 volunteers for its “Project Orca” election site monitoring effort. On Election Day, smartphone apps will allow voting monitors in the field to input discrepancies to computerized tracking systems at campaign headquarters in real time.

As Election Day approached, the two sides continued to angle for position.

On its website, the National Republican Lawyers Association listed anecdotal evidence of what it claimed was illegal vote-buying, electioneering, voter registration fraud, double-voting, and voting machine malfunction in several states.

On the Democratic side, John Podesta, former chief of staff in the Clinton White House, warned of “disturbing efforts to keep Americans from the polls.”

“Even though the voter ID law in Pennsylvania was struck down, state-sponsored ads are still telling residents they have to show ID,” he wrote in a fund-raising e-mail for the liberal Center for American Progress Action Fund. “Seniors in Florida, Indiana, and Virginia are getting phone calls falsely claiming that they can vote by phone. Voters in Florida are receiving fake letters saying that their citizenship is being investigated.”

In addition, absentee ballots and provisional votes could be particular points of contention, especially in hard-fought states like Ohio and Florida, delaying outcomes as legal teams fight it out.

The last thing anybody wants is a repeat of Florida 2000, when it took 35 days to settle the presidential election.

But just in case, both sides and their battalions of lawyers are ready.


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