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Lots of Shoes Still to Drop: All Eyes on the Courts in Election Cases

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[Image courtesy of flickr user tigerpac]

We are now about 10 weeks away from Election Day, and across the nation, election officials are beginning to make their final preparations to serve what is likely to be well over 100 million voters on or before November 6.

As the ten-week milestone passes, however, there are still a number of high-profile court cases unresolved that will have an impact on this fall's vote. I will certainly miss one or more (there are a lot out there), but here are the major cases that are yet be decided:

  1. Texas' effort to get Voting Rights Act preclearance for its new voter ID law in federal court;
  2. A similar effort on behalf of South Carolina's voter ID law;
  3. A challenge to early voting rules set by Ohio's Secretary of State as well as a similar challenge to the pre-existing rules by the Obama campaign;
  4. Wisconsin's efforts to lift injunctions blocking its new voter ID law;
  5. An appeal to Pennsylvania's Supreme Court of a ruling upholding a new ID law; and
  6. A court fight in Minnesota about a proposed voter ID amendment - and the title it will bear if it moves forward.

These are just the suits that have been filed so far; I would expect there to be several more as states, localities and advocates wrangle over citizenship checks, early voting times and locations and just about every other aspect of the voting process.

Law professor and fellow election geek Rick Hasen has argued repeatedly over the years - and again as late as last week - that we need a moratorium on election changes in the rules of the game in the weeks and months before Election Day. I completely agree - regardless of the merits of these disputes, the uncertainty that accompanies last-minute lawsuits exacerbates the "deltaphobia" that is inherent in the electoral process.

It's only ten weeks to Election Day, and there are still lots of shoes left to drop. Here's hoping that if they do, they drop soon.

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