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Election integrity expert: ‘This is a 100-year flood of voters’

The U.S. is seeing “a 100-year flood of voters,” said Neil Persily, a Stanford University law professor and expert on election law.

Appearing on “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Persily said the voter turnout this year has been astounding.

“If you had asked me six months ago, whether we would have 90 million people who had already voted, and then expected 150 to 160 million voters who would have voted in the election, I would have been shocked,” said Persily. “This is a 100-year flood of voters that we were seeing, and while there’s always reasons to be concerned and vigilant, we shouldn’t look at Election Day and see isolated instances of problems and assume that that is the story.” 

Persily noted there has not been much evidence to suggest widespread chaos around the voting process so far.

“Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd also asked Persily about the litigation surrounding this year’s election, particularly around the issue of when mail-in ballots must be received in order to be counted, specifically bringing up Pennsylvania.

“I think that what we’ve seen in Pennsylvania is that they’re trying to take a risk-averse approach — that they’re going to segregate these ballots just to make sure that if they are in doubt after the election, that it doesn’t call the final result into question. And I think that, you know, this is because we’ve had some conflicting signals sent by the U.S. Supreme Court, we’ve had lots of litigation in Pennsylvania, but it’s a pretty prudent move,” said Persily.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week that ballots can be counted in Pennsylvania, a key battleground state, as long as they are postmarked no later than Election Day, or lack a postmark altogether, and arrive by Nov. 6.

This year has seen the most litigated election in U.S. history, with Persily noting there have been hundreds of lawsuits challenging or defending mail-in ballots.

The Trump campaign has brought lawsuits challenging the ability to accept ballots received after Election Day in battleground states including Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Wisconsin.

“This is sort of the legacy of Bush v. Gore 20 years ago is that the lawyers are becoming an important part of the campaign, as well,” Persily said.

When asked how this year’s election season should inform the future of national elections going forward, Persily said the current election system needed an “autopsy” to determine how to have the election “ run smoothly.”

He also praised the work of local election officials saying, “I have to tell you, over the last six months, we’ve had hundreds of thousands of these local, sort of unsung heroes who have been dedicating their time to trying to adapt the election infrastructure to deal with the pandemic and they have done an unbelievable job.”

Tags Absentee ballot Chuck Todd Early voting mail-in ballots Meet the Press NBC News Voter turnout

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