Lawyers, watchers to prowl Missouri’s polls

Tuesday, November 2, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 3:46 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY— As part of an effort to protect their ticket in Missouri’s race for governor, representatives from both major parties said they have a staff of lawyers and poll watchers ready and on the lookout for dirty tricks this Election Day.

Paul Sloca, spokesman for the Missouri Republican Party, said the GOP has assembled a “rapid-response legal team” of hundreds of party workers, but declined to go into detail about his party’s legal preparations.

“I don’t want to be specific about where they are,” Sloca said. “Suffice it to say we are ready to take on any legal challenge the Democrats throw at us.”

Roger Wilson, head of Missouri’s Democratic Party, said though his side is also prepared to handle any legal challenge, he is not sure the election will be resolved tonight.

“We may have a late night. It’s right after Halloween, so it’s easy to conjure up the scary scenario,” Wilson said. “To try to predict or forecast something like that is next to impossible.”

Both sides said they had no legal action planned and neither pre-dicted Missouri will have the kind of legal drama that is anticipated in states where presidential polls are closer. Both parties maintain they have prepared themselves for the sort of Election Day troubles that bogged down the 2000 election in Florida.

“It’s a defensive measure as well as it is a measure to ensure that voters are able to cast their ballots,” Republican spokesman John Han-cock said.

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