UVA hosts virtual panel about ongoing election lawsuits
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A winner was called for the presidential election over the weekend, but uncertainty about lawsuits and the concern over the integrity of votes remain.
The University of Virginia held a virtual panel on Monday called "Litigating the Election" aimed at clarifying residual ambiguities and highlighting the lessons learned.
Dan Ortiz, an electoral professor at the UVA School of Law, says the ongoing lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign surround a variety of different topics.
"Nearly every 'close' state has some litigation at this point," he said.
First, there's a set of issues concerning "poll-watching issues," where the Trump campaign claimed poll-watchers weren't able to monitor ballot counting. Another claim was that poll workers were "redoing ballots" in a process known as ballot curing.
Other lawsuit subjects include bad voter instructions and late ballot counting.
"These lawsuits pretty much suffer from the same problems, either one of two different types: the first is that there really isn't much evidence to support them," Ortiz said. "The other problem with them is that when there is evidence, there's usually no problem."
Ortiz said these lawsuits are unlikely to change the vote, but says some speculate they were filed as an act of delegitimizing the Biden campaign.
Other panelists, including Myrna Perez, the director of Voting Rights and Elections at the Brennan Center for Justice, warned about political parties using the court system as a way to be "dilatory."
"I think we need to be concerned about the court clog that is going to happen when you have courts that are tied up with these frivolous cases," she said.
All of the panelists thought that contrary to concerns that voter integrity was sacrificed during this election, the pandemic may have spawned just the opposite.
They say it prompted policies to ensure mail-in ballots and early voting would work for a larger amount of people.
"I think it took the potential widespread disenfranchisement of people, who are usually not disenfranchised, to move policymakers into making our elections more resilient," Perez said.
"When you open up more opportunities to vote, it suggests that it might be harder to suppress the vote," said panelist and University of California Berkeley Law Professor Bentrall Ross.
Perez said there were lessons learned throughout the process and a need for change. She said there must be a restored Voting Rights Act, greater election funding and resourcing, and greater education about how the electoral system works.