Laches and election-law: “Piling on” edition

In this post, Rick pointed out one substantial downside of last-minute election claims.  I made a similar point in this Article, in the context of litigation challenging election-day burdens like lines at the polls (and citing the discussion Rick blogged about).  Where (and only where) the conditions likely to cause the problem are known well in advance, early resolution based on a probabilistic assessment of likely harm benefits the system as a whole.  (But see Crawford…)

And while Rick’s discussion here focuses on pre-election v. post-election relief, the Article above builds on Rick’s point in a different piece: even pre-election, logistical difficulties increase the later it gets in the election cycle.   (In a way, this is the second state where Perry’s involved in a pragmatic election administration mess caused by unresolved last-minute litigation, though technically, laches aren’t — and shouldn’t be — at issue in the Texas case).  The Virginia election isn’t until March 6, but absentee ballots should already have been printed, and have to be mailed in less than a week.   Even if the choice at hand doesn’t threaten to overturn the results of an election, it’s already making it more difficult to actually run the election in question.

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