Election 2020

More than 230 Federal Election-Related Lawsuits Have Been Filed Already

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

There’s no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has thrown the machinery of the election into chaos. According to a study by USA Today, there have been 230 election-related federal lawsuits filed since the first of the year with another legal tidal wave coming after Election Day.

Many of the suits are related to judges overriding or overruling the elected legislature to make their own laws. But despite ludicrous charges of “voter suppression,” many federal judges have upheld the laws that govern elections, protecting the integrity of the vote.

USA TODAY’s review of hundreds of lawsuits that were filed or had significant rulings in 2020 found that courts have already made pivotal decisions on who can vote, how they vote and the process used to count their votes. USA TODAY also reviewed election lawsuit data compiled and maintained by the Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections Project and the Brennan Center for Justice.

The analysis found that Trump has already been assisted by the legions of federal court judges he appointed during his first term in office. Working with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and the conservative Federalist Society legal group, the president has installed more than a quarter of all federal judges.

Not making it “easier” to vote is not the same as “voter suppression.” Democrats and liberals know this but make the charge anyway because it resonates with their base. States have a legitimate, constitutional need to ensure the integrity of everyone’s votes and as much as Democrats want to run away from the facts, mail-in ballot procedures are not as secure as in-person ballot procedures. Most states have already made allowances for the pandemic. It’s been up to the Supreme Court to sort it all out and accept some expansions of laws while quashing others.

The outcomes have been mixed. Voting rights advocates won numerous COVID-19-related decisions that expanded access to absentee ballots, extended deadlines to count those ballots and allowed blind and disabled voters to cast their ballots electronically or by phone. Trump’s lawyers and his supporters have also scored key victories, locking in Election Day deadlines for absentee voting, limiting the number of ballot drop boxes and blocking other measures to ease voting.

The flood of litigation has been powered by the coronavirus pandemic that forced states to adjust their normal voting protocols.

Most of the victories for Republicans have pushed back against the notion that people can’t fill out their ballots and mail them on time so the deadline for accepting ballots should be extended. There have been efforts to overturn laws that require a witness to sign the ballot, that a proper postmark needs to be on the ballot, and that the signature of the voter needs to match the signature on the ballot application.

It’s ludicrous not to recognize those rules as an effort to protect the vote. It’s even more outrageous to claim “voter suppression” when judges rule against the left. But I guess when you say that there’s no such thing as “voter fraud” you can make that argument with a straight face.