Lawyers answer the call to protect voters and their right to have their vote counted.
The US presidential campaigns of both Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain are recruiting large numbers of lawyers to monitor and protect voters’ rights in the upcoming national election, according to a New York Times report. The Obama camp initiated its Voter Protection Program targeting lawyers and law students at the start of the campaign to promote voter education, and it will deploy the volunteers to the polls on election day. The McCain camp is likewise seeking volunteer lawyers and law students to help during election day, and the campaign has also established a Lawyers for McCain group. These campaign-specific efforts are in addition to nonpartisan efforts by groups such as Election Protection[volunteer website], which has already recruited 10,000 people and which actively seeks lawyers, law students, and paralegals to work election protection hotlines, gather voting irregularity data and to run voter protection programs. Such efforts to involve lawyers in the election process increased following the contested 2000 presidential election that pitted now-president George W. Bush against former vice president Al Gore.
Earlier this month, the New York Times reported that thousands of eligible voters in at least six swing states had been removed from voter rolls against federal voting law. That report added to growing controversy over voting laws and procedures in the run-up to November 2008 voting. In early October, both the Ohio Supreme Court and the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit rejected Republican challenges to a directive by the Ohio secretary of state that would co-mingle absentee and regular ballots. Last month, voting rights advocates and elections officials expressed fears that a lawsuit brought by the Wisconsin Department of Justice will effectively disenfranchise thousands of voters there by causing chaos at the polls in November. Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen filed suit against the state’s Government Accountability Board, seeking to force the elections agency to cross-check the identities of recently registered voters against names in other state databases pursuant to the Help America Vote Act (HAVA).
It makes me feel better, safer and hopefully all our votes are protected…even the idiots that will be voting for McCain. IHT also has a good article up about the squads of lawyers. Over 6,000 attorney’s answered Obama’s email to help protect the votes. From the IHT writeup:
Alan Kessler, a partner at Wolf Block in Philadelphia who recently played host to a $6 million fund-raiser for Obama, said he had already received four calls from Obama volunteers asking him to work on Election Day. Kessler said the 2000 election had caused many lawyers to want to become more active.
“Lawyers have always written checks,” Kessler said. “Now we are taking it to the next level in assuring that there will be no issues on Election Day. We are learning from the last two elections, and we now have the credo ‘Never again.’ If we lose, we lose. But we don’t want it because of something that took place in the polling place.”
Some firms, like Saul Ewing in Philadelphia, are allowing their lawyers to receive pro-bono credit for voter protection work on Nov. 4. Saul Ewing, with 250 lawyers and offices in the mid-Atlantic region, says that lawyers from nearly all of its nine offices will work at the polls and that the firm’s Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, office had been used for election training.
“Our lawyers are willing to go mano-a-mano if necessary,” said Orlan Johnson, a partner at Saul Ewing and a member of the Obama national finance committee. All volunteers must undergo a training session either in person or online with the Obama campaign.
“We’re going to have lawyers at the polls and in close proximity to the courthouses,” Johnson said. As an example, he said lawyers could be helpful in keeping the polls open when lines became extremely long.
I pray it all goes well, that every single vote is counted….they have to be this time. The world will be watching.