Get ready for another contested election
What if the presidential election and some Senate races aren't settled on election night? What's in place now to deal with that?
By Barry Sussman
Q. How are elections officials in your area preparing to deal with problems on election day?
Q. How about the Justice Department? Reps. Conyers and Waxman, citing a new GAO report, say the voting section of the civil rights division is unprepared to handle allegations of voting irregularities. Any story here for you?
Q. Which groups will be poll watchers? Can you spell out their plans in your area?
Q. And what's going to happen after Nov. 2nd, when one of the two major parties — or quite possibly both — wants recounts?
Q. Is suspected computer fraud grounds for a recount?
Try this for a scenario: The presidential election isn't really close, but a turnaround in three or four states will change the winner. Does anyone doubt for a minute that the loser will seek a recount? What happens if a recount isn't feasible?
Now suppose the election is close and a recount isn't feasible. How are officials going to cope with that? They can't very well have a new election, as the recount problem will still exist. So are there any plans in place?
And finally, what about close House or Senate elections?
The GAO report cited by Conyers and Waxman is 106 pages long. It is on a House Democratic Web site and is dated Sept. 14th.
The stories we're asking for aren't conjectural. You owe it to your readers and viewers to let them know what's in place and what isn't. And you owe it to yourself to have your news organization be ready when the time comes.
Barry Sussman is the editor of the Nieman Watchdog Project. He is the author of The Great Cover-Up: Nixon and the Scandal of Watergate, now in its fourth edition.