One of the most disturbing, even destabilizing, aspects of the presidential election is the prospect that partisans on either side will deem the outcome invalid if their candidate doesn't win. Republicans are warning of massive fraud by new registrants not entitled to vote, while Democrats complain of an organized program to intimidate and disenfranchise eligible voters. The tension between preventing fraud and ensuring access is inherent in every election. But the expected closeness of this one, combined with the lingering bruises of the 2000 race, the record number of newly enrolled voters and the added uncertainties posed by a new federal law, have ratcheted that inevitable conflict to a new level. Those factors have produced an avalanche of pre-election litigation, threaten a difficult and perhaps ugly Election Day in the closest states, and raise the possibility that the victor may once again not be known for weeks.
Both candidates should weigh the potential costs to the country as they deploy their lawyers.
-- Washington Post
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