Politics & Government

In Washington state, lawyers lie in wait for voter problems

The state’s Democratic and Republican parties worked over the weekend to turn out voters ahead of Tuesday’s election deadline, but they also were getting in position to fix flawed ballot signatures in case any close races emerge after the Nov. 2 voting deadline.

State elections director Nick Handy said Friday it’s clear both Republicans and Democrats are “very organized” in the event they need to challenge ballots or deal with a recount. “They have their attorney teams set up to move immediately into what is called ‘the next campaign.’ There is the campaign that leads up to the election (Nov. 2) and the campaign that begins after.’’

The Washington governor’s race was decided by razor close 133 votes in 2004 after two recounts and a court challenge and a Minnesota’s U.S. Senate race in 2008 was not decided until recounts and a court challenge the following year.

This year, Washington races are running close for U.S. Senate, the 3rd Congressional District and other seats, and the political parties have lawyers prepared if there is trouble.

“We do have them at the ready. They are sort of on an on-call basis,” state Republican Party chairman Luke Esser said of the legal team, calling it a standard procedure now. “But they are ready should they be needed.”

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