Biden campaign forming 'special litigation' team ahead of possible voting battle

Biden campaign forming 'special litigation' team ahead of possible voting battle
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Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenSenate Republicans face tough decision on replacing Ginsburg What Senate Republicans have said about election-year Supreme Court vacancies Biden says Ginsburg successor should be picked by candidate who wins on Nov. 3 MORE’s campaign is reportedly forming a “special litigation” team made of hundreds of lawyers ahead of a potential legal battle against President TrumpDonald John TrumpObama calls on Senate not to fill Ginsburg's vacancy until after election Planned Parenthood: 'The fate of our rights' depends on Ginsburg replacement Progressive group to spend M in ad campaign on Supreme Court vacancy MORE and his campaign. 

Donald B. Verrilli Jr. and Walter Dellinger, two former solicitors general, will lead the special litigation unit, which is part of the campaign’s overall new legal operation, The New York Times reported Monday. 

Biden campaign officials framed the operation as the largest election protection program in presidential campaign history, saying it is needed as concerns over voting and Trump’s unfounded claims of fraud continue to spread ahead of the election. 

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The special litigation team will include lawyers from Democratic law firm Perkins Coie who will look into the state-by-state battles over casting ballots and voting rules. Marc Elias, the chair of Perkins Coie’s Political Law Group, will lead this portion of the unit, according to the Times. 

Former Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderThe Hill's Campaign Report: Trump's rally risk | Biden ramps up legal team | Biden hits Trump over climate policy Biden campaign forming 'special litigation' team ahead of possible voting battle Pompeo, Engel poised for battle in contempt proceedings MORE will also reportedly work to communicate with independent groups participating in the legal battle over the election. 

The larger legal push is being led by Dana Remus, who has served as Biden’s general counsel for the campaign, and Bob Bauer, a former White House counsel during Obama’s presidency, the Times noted. 

The president has fueled conspiracies about fraud, including that mail-in voting opens up the election to fraud, over the past few months. Biden officials told the newspaper that they are attempting to disprove Trump’s claims without allowing them to spread. 

“A lot of what Trump and his allies would have us do is amplify their disaster scenarios,” Bauer said. “We’re not going to get caught up in alarmist rhetoric they are using to scare voters.”

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Mandi Merritt, a spokesperson for the Republican National Committee, told the Times that Democrats want to “turn our election into an out-of-control all-mail-based election” without needed protections and through loosening requirements. 

“Republicans have always supported absentee voting with safeguards in place and want to make sure every valid vote is counted and our elections are free, fair and transparent,” Merritt said. “What we oppose is a rushed and forcibly implemented nationwide vote-by-mail experiment that would eliminate those safeguards, invite fraud and weaken the integrity of our elections.”

The 2020 election is expected to have a record number of ballots cast through the mail amid the coronavirus pandemic as many people fear gathering in public and potentially contracting the virus.  

Legal battles over election rules have already been launched in several states, including in Florida, where a court ruled those convicted of felonies have to pay fines and fees before voting, and in Wisconsin, where the state Supreme Court stopped absentee ballots from printing after a third-party candidate filed a challenge.