News & Politics

Virginia: Monday Court Action Could Benefit GOP

Late-breaking legal action on Monday could benefit John McCain if that state's vote is close.
There were several legal developments in Virginia late Monday that could benefit John McCain if the race in that state is close. First, a federal appeals court rejected the NAACP's suit asking that polling place hours be extended to accommodate African-American voters, although the NAACP said it would return to court on Tuesday if voters were stranded in long lines. The Moritz Law School blog said:
"After losing its request for relief this afternoon ... the Virginia NAACP announced that it is prepared to go back to court tomorrow (Election Day) if lines at the polls are too long. Presumably, it would renew its request, made previously in its pending case, for the court to order emergency back-up paper ballots and/or an extension of polling hours. Presumably, this statement means that the NAACP has decided not to attempt any appeal of today's ruling in the Fourth Circuit."
Meanwhile, the McCain campaign has filed a suit against the state of Virginia seeking extra time for absentee ballots sent overseas to soldiers to be counted. Rich Hasen, editor of the ElectionLaw blog, said he did not think the courts would be persuaded by McCain -- although other GOP allies might be more successful.
The McCain campaign likely doesn't have standing to bring this suit; only DOJ does (and don't count them out!). I see this as the politics of the situation, this is the final (?) Hail Mary of the McCain campaign. The suit wants to require Virginia to wait 10 days for additional military ballots (to November 14) before certifying federal election results in Virginia, which could be very important only if the race is very close and turns on Virginia. Of course, election law aficionados remember the role military ballots played in the results of election 2000.
In other words, stay tuned.
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