This year's presidential election could very well end much like that of 2000, with its controversial U.S. Supreme Court ruling on "hanging chads." Over the past few weeks, nearly a dozen decisions have been handed down by state and federal courts concerning state laws on early voting, provisional voting and voter ID. Court arguments kicked off again on voting-related cases in the swing states of Ohio and Pennsylvania last week, with the Ohio case potentially headed for emergency review by the U.S. Supreme Court. And J.B. Van Hollen (R), the attorney general of another swing state, Wisconsin, just appealed two rulings on his state's voter ID law to the state's Supreme Court on an emergency basis. But even if all of the pending cases are settled before Election Day, a close race is almost certain to generate post-election litigation. "In any of these states there is the potential for disaster," said Lawrence Norden of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. "You have close elections and the real possibility that people will say their votes were not counted when they should have been. That's the nightmare scenario for the day after the election." The fact that the courts have taken conflicting views on the voting laws at issue isn't doing much to diminish that possibility. Voter ID laws, for instance, have been both upheld as fair, as in Pennsylvania, and struck down as discriminatory, as in Texas. But it will be another seven weeks before we know for certain whether there's going to be a Supreme Court decision on Obama v Romney. (NEW YORK TIMES, STATE NET)
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