Oct 30, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Republicans gear up for day-of and post-Election Day litigation

People waiting to vote outside spaced out and wearing masks. A blurred vote sign with an arrow is in the foregroud.
Voters wait in line to cast their early ballots Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Republican Party officials say they're already looking to Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Nevada as likely battlegrounds for post-election lawsuits if the results are close.

The big picture: As pre-election lawsuits draw to a close, and with President Trump running behind Joe Biden in national and many battleground state polls, Republicans are turning their attention to preparations for Election Day and beyond, and potential recounts.

  • They have 50,000 volunteers, attorneys and staff working election day operations, with an emphasis in presidential battleground states.
  • A multi-state wave of litigation brought by both Republicans and Democrats could unfold over the course of several days next week. Where and over what depends on the margins of victory in each state.

What they're saying: "There's a good chance you won't see any litigation" if an election outcome does not hinge on the ballots set aside, one GOP official familiar with the planning said on a call with reporters. "But if it's really close, to be frank, these ballots are going to become a point of contention."

Driving the news: Republican Party officials who briefed reporters on litigation plans Friday said they're watching late-arriving ballots that will be segregated in Pennsylvania and Minnesota, and have sued for ballot counting records from Clark County, Nevada, to test whether signature-matching standards there are lower than the rest of the state.

  • Amid lawsuits over extended mail-in ballot deadlines in Pennsylvania and Minnesota, election officials will now separate ballots that arrive after Election Day in case the courts decide they should not be counted.
  • The Supreme Court denied Republicans' request to expedite review of the mail-in ballot deadline in Pennsylvania this week. But Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas notably left open the possibility of the court taking up the case after the election.
  • The Minnesota lawsuit hasn't made its way to the Supreme Court yet.
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