One thing this country does not need come Nov. 7 is to be thrown into a protracted court battle over who won the 2012 presidential election.
Yet, given the numerous legal challenges and courtroom battles taking place over voting laws in several states, that potential exists.
South Carolina’s new law that would require voters to show a photo ID is the subject of a federal trial.
It’s one of at least a dozen challenges to voting laws nationwide that could affect the outcome of the election on Nov. 6, according to a recent report in The New York Times.
Others include voter ID battles in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin; and early voting disputes in swing states such as Ohio and Florida.
If the election is close, how those legal challenges play out now could determine if the election winds up in the courts. President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney now are separated by only two to four points in most polls, and the race looks like it will hinge on how a relatively small number of people
vote in just a few swing states.
Another election decided by the courts could further divide a nation that is as politically divided as it has been at any time in recent memory.
It would hurt the chances of any sort of bipartisan effort to solve the looming “fiscal cliff,” the combination of mandatory budget cuts and tax increases that has the potential to send the country into another economic crisis.
Although the election is not likely to hinge on South Carolina’s vote, if the electoral vote race is close and the state rushes its voter ID law into place, the opportunity to throw this state’s election into the courts would exist.
That would mitigate our vote in the federal races, and also could leave some local and state races hanging in the balance.
Closing arguments in the South Carolina Voter ID case are not scheduled until today. South Carolina elections officials would do well to say now that even if the state prevails in this case, the new requirement would not be implemented until the next election.
Americans deserve to wake up Nov. 7 knowing the outcome of their elections. They shouldn’t have to wait for the courts to decide.
The best way to ensure that is to maintain the status quo and stop legal wrangling over voter ID and other voter-related laws until after this election is decided.
- By The Greenville News