What Are Your Rights: Election Rights

Recorded on November 9, 2022

Even prior to the November 8th election, lawsuits had been filed in several battleground states, with the possibility of even more to come as results are being released. What’s the core at some of these lawsuits that were filed before the election? Managing partner Paul Harding of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, LLP is on CBS6 to help explain in this week’s “What Are Your Rights?” segment.

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Announcer: The following segment is sponsored by Martin, Harding & Mazzotti.

Interviewer: Well, even prior to Tuesday’s election lawsuits had been filed in several battleground states, with the possibility of even more to come, as results are being released. So, managing partner, Paul Harding is here for Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. So, Paul, let’s just start with the first question. What’s the core at some of these lawsuits that were filed before the election?

Paul: Before the election, keeping in mind lawsuits been filed since the time elections happen, right? So, it’s not atypical, but we see more and more spotlight on it these days. Well, you got some of these early filers that talked about fraud, right? Voter fraud, that the ballots are being stuffed. And, you know, sort of some of these groups that are a little bit on the fringe that just already were poised to do this.

But lawsuits about protocol, about the way ballots are supposed to be handled, the way they’re supposed to move throughout the system, someone observed something, didn’t like what they saw, filed a lawsuit. Who’s counting the ballots? Who’s working the ballot booth? Wait, that person, we think has an ax to grind. Right? So, some of the stuff is legitimate. Lawsuit is the way that we can maybe get to the bottom of some of this stuff, although likely, most of the stuff will be thrown out pretty quickly.

Interviewer: So, who’s behind some of these lawsuits?

Paul: Yeah. You know, like I said, some of the folks who are just ready to pounce, right? That are kind of on the fringe of either party. You know, they just had it filed, ready to go. They don’t trust anybody. They don’t trust the group. But civil rights groups, you know, said, “Look, you know, these locations were not in great places. You know, these folks couldn’t get there. They didn’t have access to it. You know, there wasn’t enough public transportation.”

You know, groups that are concerned about voter rights and voter opportunity, they file lawsuits. They sort of don’t get the news, but those are the ones that probably gonna get potentially some results.

Interviewer: Gotcha. And what are some of the guarantees that voters have in terms of privacy when they’re voting?

Paul: Well, number one, they’re never gonna find out who you are, right? So, even if they go through it and recount, there’s just so much protection. No one’s ever gonna know Paul Harding voted for blank. Right? It’s not gonna happen. Secondly, you don’t have to, like, take a test to, you know, solve a math problem to get a ballot, right? So, it’s access. It should be easy access in your neighborhood. Just hand you the ballot. You do your thing. And then thirdly, just lack of intimidation. If you feel intimidated in any way, someone’s kind of pushing you a certain way or giving you a look about what you’re doing, that’s a voter right that should be sued.

Interviewer: And how are all of these rights enforced and protected?

Paul: Well, you have members of both parties there. You’ve got people from state and federal government who kind of come in and just kind of wander around and pay attention. So, I think it’s kind of like everyone’s watching it. Sometimes everyone doesn’t know the rules. I think we see that.

Interviewer: Yeah. Well, we know that it’s likely more lawsuits will be filed. In fact, we were just talking about yesterday, there were some issues in Washington County, with some ballots that weren’t read by the machines, and then they were transferred. Washington County, there was already a lawsuit filed. The Republicans won. The judge granting a stay there. So, what does this all mean? Can we expect more suits like this?

Paul: Sure. You know, I mean, this one again, maybe legit. There’s specific rules. So, there’s problems with the machine, so now there’s the ballots. The ballots being transported, but they’re supposed to be transported by a member of both parties. You know, did something happen? Probably not, but the specific rule was violated. They went to the court, court said, “Hey, oh-oh, slow it down. We’re gonna go back and retrace everything, and we’re gonna get it right.”

So, yeah, I just suspect more of that. Again, that’s Washington County, you know, 20 minutes from here. But in terms of a country, there’ll be hundreds of these lawsuits filed, some of which are gonna teach and be legitimate, many of which will be tossed out as quickly as they were filed.

Interviewer: Well, a lot of these races are still up in the air, as you know, so we will be watching over the next couple of days to see what happens. Thank you so much for breaking it all down for us.

Paul: You’re welcome.

Interviewer: And for more info covered in our weekly, “What Are Your Rights?” segment, or to send us a story idea, just head to our website, cbs6albany.com.

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