Biden assembles legal team ahead of divisive 2020 election

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks about climate change and wildfires affecting western states, Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks about climate change and wildfires affecting western states, Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

WASHINGTON – Democrat Joe Biden is assembling a team of top lawyers in anticipation of court challenges to the election process that could ultimately determine who wins the race for the White House.

Biden's presidential campaign says the legal war room will work to ensure that elections are properly administered and votes correctly counted. It will also seek to combat voter suppression at the polls, identify foreign interference and misinformation, and educate voters on the different methods available for casting ballots.

The effort, which the Biden campaign described as the largest election protection program in presidential campaign history, reflects the extent of the preparation underway for an already divisive presidential contest in November that could produce significant, perhaps even decisive, court cases over voter access and the legitimacy of mail ballots.

Democrats and Republicans are locked in legal fights on election rules that could help shape the outcome of the vote, and President Donald Trump's campaign has its own attorneys handling cases on a variety of issues.

Trump in recent months has sought to preemptively cast doubt on the election, warning that the expected surge in mail ballots because of the coronavirus pandemic will lead to massive fraud and could open the door to foreign countries to print their own fraudulent ballots.

“Notwithstanding Donald Trump and his Republican allies’ hollow threats and constant misinformation, election officials around the country are working tirelessly to hold a free and fair and election, and we have an extraordinary national team in place to ensure that every eligible voter is able to exercise their right to vote and have their vote counted," Bob Bauer, a senior adviser to the Biden campaign and former White House counsel to President Barack Obama, said in a statement.

Bauer, who served as general counsel to the Obama campaigns of 2008 and 2012, will work with campaign general counsel Dana Remus on voter protection — an issue that thousands of Democratic lawyers around the country are also engaged in, according to the Biden campaign.

The campaign is also creating a special national litigation team involving hundreds of lawyers that will include as leaders Walter Dellinger, a solicitor general in the Clinton administration, and Donald Verrilli, a solicitor general under Obama.