Already, the Ohio GOP has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the voting process (surprise, surprise). It is suing Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, an elected Democrat, on the grounds that she has wrongfully managed the counting of provisional ballots--namely that because of her directives, the process will not be uniform across the state. The suit is a resurrection of a previous complaint the state GOP had dropped.

Why might Republicans be looking to the courts hours before the Buckeye state's polls close? Edward Foley, an election law expert who's commented frequently on the various legal battles between Brunner and the GOP in Ohio's newspapers, had this to say:

"They are specifically relying on Bush v. Gore and 14th Amendment and claiming that Secretary Brunner's rules in handling provisional and absentee ballots are not uniform throughout the state of Ohio," said Mr. Foley. "This new filing appears to be an effort by the Republicans to have the process for verifying provisional ballots be handled in their own lawsuit rather than another lawsuit filed by a advocacy group for the homeless."

When I interviewed John McClelland, communications director for the Ohio Republicans, last week, I specifically asked if his party had a posse of lawyers ready to take action on Election Day. Sitting next to a Bush bobblehead doll, McClelland smiled and insisted that lawyers weren't going to be challenging voters at the polls, which had been a concern after Brunner declined to release the list of some 200,000 new voters whose registration information didn't match that in government database. But McClelland didn't deny that the party was ready and willing to go to legal war Tuesday with Brunner over the "integrity" of Ohio's ballots.

It seems like that war, however big or small it may turn out to be, has begun with this preemptive strike.

--Seyward Darby