Campaigns deploy armies of lawyers in Florida to watch for voting problems


Vanessa Blum
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
November 1, 2008

With a slender margin separating Republican Sen. John McCain and Democratic Sen. Barack Obama, battalions of lawyers are converging on Florida to handle any disputes at the polls and run to court if necessary.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

The unspoken backdrop to this legal blitz is the 2000 election showdown in Florida, where Democrats and Republicans faced off for five weeks in state and federal courtrooms in a titanic struggle of attorneys and legal briefs that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

That time, the Republicans won: by 537 votes in Florida’s official tally, and 5-4 among the black-robed justices in Washington.

It was the first time a U.S. presidential election had been contested in court. It may not be the last: Jonathan Turley, an election law expert at George Washington University, predicted a “flurry of lawsuits” in swing states like Florida and Ohio if the margin of victory next Tuesday is slim.

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