Election Day Legal Issues: When to Call a Lawyer
Election Day is almost here - whether you’re talking about the Primary Run-Off (scheduled for July [date]) or the General Election in November, the anticipation is growing. And if you’re a candidate, you have a great deal to get ready before the start of early voting. You have to worry about data; mailers; debates; endorsements; editorial boards; TV interviews; talking points; headshots; block-walkers; door hangers; fundraising; wardrobe; staff; consultants; and (hopefully) victory watch parties. You may feel as if you could not possibly manage one more thing. But what happens when you face an emergency legal issue on Election Day, or during Early Voting, and you weren’t prepared? How much time do you have to find an answer? What can you do? What are your rights?
One of the biggest mistakes a candidate can make is to write off election legal issues as few-and-far-between, or something for another day. Part of being prepared to give your team the best shot when it comes time to cast those ballots is to know what you need to expect, what you need to be ready for, and what your rights are. Should you have poll watchers? What do they do and how do I choose who should be mine? How many poll watchers can I have? How do I train them? Can I be a poll watcher for myself? Can my family do it for me? How much access do I have to each election site? Can my watchers take notes? What should I do if my watchers are turned away? Is that even possible? Where can I put my signs? Am I entitled to poll greeters? What if an election clerk is being unfair to me or a member of my campaign? What if an election judge won’t allow us to poll greet? What if we are prohibited from having lawful access to a polling case? What are my options if I see my opponent breaking the law? Am I at risk for ballot fraud?
These are just some of the many questions we see every election season, and usually, we get calls with less than 24 hours to take any action. The reality of election law is that you have an extremely limited time period in which you can take any action at all, so if you wait too long, even an extra day, you could be out of luck. If you’re not prepared and ready to protect all the work your campaign has done to get you to this point you could lose out. So don’t get caught unawares, give us a call here at Guest & Gray. We have experienced election law attorneys who are ready to walk your campaign through all the legal aspects of Election Day, and help give your campaign its best possible chance of success.