The upcoming US presidential election could potentially raise a number of serious legal issues, and Romney and Obama reportedly both have sizable legal teams standing by in case any of a number of possible legal issues that might arise. The most likely situation is that of a state being too close too call – circumstances that might keep the results of the election from being made official. The worst case scenario would be if a swing state like Ohio or Florida were to be within what’s known as the “margin of litigation.”
The margin of litigation firstly requires a state whose electoral college votes are pivotal to the results of the election as a whole. Secondly, that state’s outstanding votes must be more numerous than the winning candidate’s margin of victory. Barring these conditions, there would have to be serious and widespread problems with the voting system. Within the margin of litigation, it is considered worthwhile for the losing candidate’s legal team to launch a court challenge.
While legal battles for House and Senate seats are more common, the last legal battle over a presidential election was in 2000. That fight was settled by the US Supreme Court, who of course favoured George W. Bush over Al Gore. One of the Bush legal team’s key players, Benjamin Ginsberg, is now leading Romney’s team. Meanwhile, the Democrats are led by Robert Bauer, former Obama White House Counsel and Democratic National Committee attorney. Both are leading teams of hundreds of attorneys dispersed across the country, prepared to deal with any legal issues as they arise.