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Vote check

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As Election Day nears, people concerned about voter fraud are mustering their troops as are those who worry about voter intimidation.

A recent billboard in Cleveland, Ohio, warned that voter fraud could bring prison time and a serious fine. Citizens felt this was an example of voter intimidation and moved to have the sign removed.

Ballot access laws have been debated the past two years and more. Key battleground states are expecting thousands of lawyers and volunteers to monitor voting.

“There is a get-out-the-lawyer effort that both sides put together well before the election, trying to have attorneys in place in key precincts all over the battleground states,” Nathan L. Gonzales of the Rothenberg Political Report told Bloomberg News. “On Election Day, there are really only two guarantees: Someone will win and someone will sue.”

An intense effort to monitor the election process began with the 2000 presidential election that entailed a recount in Florida and a Supreme Court decision to declare George W. Bush president. This election, thousands of lawyers will head to precincts identified as potential trouble spots for disputes between voters and monitors.

Both sides — Republicans and Democrats — are on the alert for complaints of voting illegally or blocking votes.

The FBI is probing fraudulent letters sent to people in Florida questioning their citizenship and eligibility to vote. State officials in three states are investigating reports of phone calls telling voters they can vote by phone: they can’t.

Much effort is being devoted to preserving citizens’ right to vote on one hand and guarding against fraud on the other.

This has become a part of the election process.

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