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New York Democrats and Republicans are mobilizing lawyers to pour into swing states on Election Day. As of last month, the Democrats had signed up 600 volunteer attorneys to serve as poll watchers and were looking to recruit law student volunteers, said Henry T. Berger, chief counsel for Sen. John Kerry’s campaign in New York. Jason Weingartner, the head of the New York State Young Republicans, said last month that his group had mobilized 100 New York lawyers to work on Election Day in battleground states. Grant Lally, the head of the New York chapter of the Republican National Lawyers Association, said about 100 of his members had volunteered to work with President Bush’s campaign in New York and in battleground states. Inquiries from potential volunteers were coming in at 20 to 30 a day, he said. The Democratic volunteers are “mostly big firm partners and associates with a healthy mix of solo and small firm practitioners,” said Steven R. Neumark, a solo practitioner who is organizing the Democratic effort. Lally said the Republican volunteers are mostly solo practitioners and government lawyers taking vacation time. For Democrats, the idea of sending volunteer lawyers to other states was an outgrowth of a fund-raising drive within the legal community, Berger said. He said feelings are running high over the election, and memories of the problems four years ago in Florida remain both bitter and fresh. So the fund-raisers started talking about “exporting lawyers as well as money,” Berger said. The Republican effort in New York is an outgrowth of a national effort to recruit lawyer volunteers, said Edward F. Cox, a partner at Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler. Cox, who helped organize the Republican effort in New York, said he put together a meeting in August, attended by about 100 lawyers, after being contacted by Richard Wiley of Wiley Rein & Fielding, the head of the Bush-Cheney Lawyers Committee. Both camps say they are asking lawyers to spend four days on the effort. Lawyers were being asked to go to battleground states the weekend before the election so they could become familiar with the procedures and equipment used in the precincts where they are being assigned. Lally, of Lally & Lally, said the volunteers will work to insure that “all voters who are entitled to vote get to vote” and that the election is run “cleanly and without any fraud.” Berger said the Democrats will work to enforce the Help America Vote Act, which was passed by Congress to remedy problems found in Florida and other states four years ago. For instance, those whose names do not appear on registration lists are required to be given provisional ballots that can be discarded if they prove undeserved. Similarly, the new law permits inspectors to require identification from voters who registered by mail. The volunteers will make sure eligible voters are given provisional ballots, Berger said. And they will insist that election inspectors limit identification requests to situations and documents identified in the new law. Berger said the Democrats were being sent to Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and New Hampshire. Both sides said that because many of the lawyers are not licensed to practice in the states where they are being sent, they will function simply as observers versed in election law procedures. The volunteers on both sides will work closely with local lawyers assigned as liaisons to county election boards to resolve widespread problems. Other local lawyers will be available to seek emergency relief in court if necessary. The Democrats’ volunteers have agreed to pay for their own lodging and travel, Berger said. They are also trying to raise funds to cover those costs for any law students who volunteer, he said. On the Republican side, Lally said there is a possibility that the lawyer volunteers will receive a stipend for their meals and lodging.

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