If the 2012 election comes down to only a few thousand votes in any state, don’t expect either side to be unprepared for a recount.
According to the Daily Beast, both the Romney and Obama campaigns have mobilized thousands of lawyers to monitor polling stations and file emergency litigation, if necessary.
In Virginia alone, reports the Beast, the Romney team has dispatched some 1,000 attorneys.
But don’t think a recount is all that likely, even after what happened in the 2000 election, which legal expert and author Jeffrey Toobin likens to a “once-in-a-century flood.”
For a recalculation to occur, an election would have to be decided by a very small number of votes in one state that would decide the electoral winner. Due to the massive numbers of votes in the presidential election, this scenario is unlikely, and even if it were to happen, it would have slight chance of changing the outcome.
Continue Reading Below
What’s more likely to occur, according to Joe Sandler, a former general counsel for the Democratic National Committee, is a recount in a House or Senate election, where the polling size is much smaller and the outcome can be more easily disputed.
Still, even though the recounts are anomalous, many political veterans like Sandler agree that they’re important options to prepare a campaign for.
In each state, according to Sandler, there are teams of lawyers—both local and national specialist--on standby with forms and training materials.
These lawyers, Sandler says, are complemented by PR experts who aim to get “the high ground as soon as you can.” “You won the election,” he says, “and it’s being stolen from you.” This he faults the Gore campaign for not effectively establishing in their failed 2000 recount.
When asked about the subject, both the Romney and Obama inner-circles claimed to employ election-day legal teams largely for the purpose of protecting voters’ civil rights.
“In each battleground state, we have recruited thousands of attorney volunteers to help recruit, train, educate, and observe at polling locations across the country. Our observers are trained to be problem solvers so that all eligible voters are given the opportunity to vote. The legal community has responded with an outpouring of interest to protect the right to vote this cycle,” Adam Fletcher, an Obama campaign official, told the Beast.
The Romney Team was similarly mum on how they plan to use the officials beyond an observatory role.
“We have all the resources and infrastructure we need for any potential dispute or recount. Beyond that, I don’t know that I’ll have much more for you,” an official close to the presidential hopeful said.