Jewish World Review July 21, 2004 / 3 Menachem-Av 5764

Dan Abrams

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The newfound lawyering of politics | Both parties are now preparing virtual armadas of attorneys to cover and uncover every voting district in the country. Like flocks of buzzards, they are beginning to descend on what used to feel like cocoons of sanctity, the polling locations.

Some lawyers are arriving months before the election in the hope they can find some sign of irregularity. Both parties are claiming they're just trying to promote valid access and avoid disenfranchising eligible voters. Yes, right.

Both sides will also be trying to nullify any votes that go against them.

Everyone supports the idea of making every vote count and if that's all the lawyers were there to do, I think we'd all welcome their arrival. But don't be fooled. These attorneys are political warriors.

The legacy of the 2000 election battle is that it's not just about politics. That election exposed problems with voting systems around the country and like a predator hunting its prey, these legal hounds are looking for any scent of blood, any weakness to challenge.

No stone will go unturned. It's really not either party's fault per se. Both are doing it. Until voting becomes more uniform, there will be problems for the lawyers to expose. But it is still a shame that we have come to this. A sense that the election returns will have asterisks with small print that says something like these numbers reflect only the pre-litigation returns. This time we can't blame the lawyers, though. They're just a symptom of the disease.

But some diseases are still difficult to live with.

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JWR contributor Dan Abrams anchors “The Abrams Report,” Monday through Friday from 9-10 p.m. ET on MSNBC TV. He also covers legal stories for “NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw,” “Today” and “Dateline NBC.” To visit his website, click here. Comment by clicking here.



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