Cover Story

Post-party blues

"Post-party blues" Continued...

Issue: "Post-party election blues?," Nov. 6, 2004

Absentee ballots-especially those cast by overseas members of the armed services-could be another litigation target. With millions of voters mailing in their ballots early this year, close races might not be decided until the envelopes are opened. Because absentee ballots circulate for weeks outside the control of election officials, Republicans fear they could be a source of widespread fraud. On the other hand, absentee military ballots are expected to favor the president by better than 2-to-1, so GOP lawyers are ready to fight for a full accounting of the military vote.

Both parties are hoping for a surprising surge on Election Day that puts the results outside the "margin of litigation." Even so, the mere possibility of widespread lawsuits has already changed the nature of American politics. Lawyers, judges, and armies of poll-watchers are likely a permanent part of the political landscape-and Election Night fireworks may be a thing of the past.

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