Must-read WaPo: “Republicans plan blitz of election-related lawsuits, but prospects uncertain”


When Donald Trump installed a new chairman of the Republican Party this month, he explained privately and publicly what he wanted from the GOP: a bigger focus on election-related lawsuits, a more aggressive operation to monitor voting and a vow to make “election integrity” the party’s No. 1 priority.

The party is now striking a more aggressive tone as it recruits poll observers to keep an eye on in-person voting and boasts of positioning thousands of lawyers to challenge ballots and bring lawsuits. The strategy — an outgrowth of the one it used both before the 2020 election and after, when Trump sought to overturn the result — is meant to please Trump, electrify the base and persuade judges to tighten voting rules.

“It’s an extremely high priority for the president,” said the new Republican National Committee chairman, Michael Whatley, referring to Trump.

But the reality of what Republicans can achieve may not match Trump’s desires. Democrats have raised huge sums to fight Republican efforts, even as the GOP remains cash-strapped.

And the legal terrainis more settled now than it was four years ago, when courts had to weigh in on how to conduct voting during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.That leaves fewer opportunities to change the rules through the courts.

“Courts are a lot less tolerant of bringing cases now that could have been brought before,” said Justin Levitt, a Loyola Law School professor who previously advised the Biden White House on voting rights. “A raft of new litigation over the summer is going to run into an awful lot of: ‘The things you’re protesting aren’t new. Where were you a couple of years ago?’”…

Whatley is bringing on board attorneys who have differing views of 2020. Charlie Spies, who has denied claims that voting machines flipped votes from Trump to Biden in 2020, will serve as the RNC’s chief counsel. Bobb, who has promoted false claims about the 2020 election, will be the RNC’s senior counsel for election integrity. Spies did not respond to a request for comment and Bobb said she could not speak publiclyuntil she moves into her post next week.

Bobb worked in front of the camera and behind the scenes to undermine Biden’s win in 2020. In Arizona, she helped Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani arrange a meeting that aired false assertions of mass election fraud and later promoted a review of 1.1 million ballots in the state’s most populous county that election experts widely discredited as unreliable.

Benjamin Ginsberg, a longtime Republican election attorney who represented George W. Bush’s campaign during Florida’s 2000 recount, described Spies as seasoned and reasonable and Bobb as an “unguided missile.”

Ginsberg said the election lawsuits that Republicans and Democrats are filing often are aimed less at winning in court and more at boosting fundraising and getting their supporters to the polls. As a result, the public has less faith in elections, he said.

“If more evidence-free lawsuits are filed based only on the belief that the other side is rigging the election, it will be increasingly difficult for whoever wins to actually govern,” Ginsberg said….

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