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Could 2020 have its own version of Bush v. Gore?

Published: Sep. 29, 2020 at 6:26 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Some say they don’t believe the election winner will be known on election night. It could be days, maybe weeks if this race goes to the court system, which it did in the 2000 contest between George W. Bush and Al Gore.

Now we’re hearing from someone in the middle of that time in history.

Tom Spencer remembers the year 2000 when, as a lawyer for President George W. Bush, he learned the phrase “hanging chad."

“There were no rules. To me, it was just made up stuff. That was going along,” said Spencer, a former attorney for President George W. Bush.

He notes there are already around 140 court cases nationwide for an election that hasn’t even happened yet, which could eventually stretch out the releasing of results.

“We’re going to have a situation where there will be decisions for various races, including the Presidential race which we’re not going to know the outcome of for weeks,” said Spencer.

Spencer says in his experience more left-leaning judges have changed some election rules and more right-leaning judges keep the rules set in place by legislatures. Decisions may be state-by-state.

He does expect the US Supreme Court to be involved and the court process will be messy, just like in 2000.

“I don’t think it’ll be smoother because there’s such tension in the process all over the country,” said Spencer.

Citizens can help actually. Spencer says if every voter is diligent and pays attention, fewer and fewer court rulings will be needed.

“Get your votes in early. Make sure your vote has been properly recorded. Make sure you’ve done the ballot correctly because it’s precious,” said Spencer.

Here’s another wrinkle -- if judge Amy Coney Barrett is not confirmed to the Supreme Court, that will leave 8 justices. If the vote on any case is a 4-4, the Appellate Court ruling will stand.

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