MIAMI (CBSMiami) – In some ways, it seems like some of the factors that were in play back in 2000 have returned in 2020.
There’s stoking fears about socialism and communism as well as efforts to cast doubt on the validity of the results of the election.
Former federal prosecutor Kendall Coffey, who was also a key member of the Gore-Lieberman team in the presidential recount litigation, joined Lauren Pastrana and Eliott Rodriguez on CBS4 News at 7 to talk about some of the lessons both campaigns can take from the chaos of 2000.
“Well, I think both campaigns are very, very ready on legal issues. They’ve been war gaming this thing for months. They’ve got plenty of lawyers on both sides, and are trying to be prepared for everything possible,” he said. “But this is Florida. So you never know what’s really going to happen here. The one thing that voters appreciate is how important the vote is, because we remember how close it was in 2000. And now, also how critically important Florida is. There are a lot of reasons to believe that people of Florida are going to decide who is going to sit in the White House for the next four years.”
RELATED: Campaign 2020 Voters Guide
Rodriguez then asked Coffey what are some of the legal challenges that could be expected.
“Well, early voting is going to be sort of a testing ground to see if issues come up that could be Election Day issues. So people vote, are the machines working? Is everything sort of on track right now? On Election Day itself, I think we’re all looking at what will be the impact of mail-in ballots. Will there be challenges? Will there be a process that moves smoothly?” he said. “Because remember, we have signature verification – that is the key to determining whether to count a mail-in ballot. And it’s a signature that’s on the outside of the envelope, compared to a signature that is on file with the supervisor of election that may have been sitting there for a bunch of years. And many of us know that handwriting does change.”
Pastrana followed up, shifting focus to latest CBS News Battleground Tracker poll.
Specifically, she asked why Democratic challenger Joe Biden has a slim 3-point lead over President Donald Trump in the crucial swing state.
“Well, the people are just so divided about so many things. And, of course, we know in 2016 it seemed that Hillary Clinton was slightly ahead going to the weekend before the election. But she carried Florida. So none of us can take Florida for granted on either side,” Coffey said. “I think you’re going to see every day, more energy, more emphasis, and it’s going to go down to the wire in Florida. And I’d be perhaps pleasantly or certainly surprised if you are able to call this thing anytime early on Election Night.”
As for how legal challenges will play out, Coffey said it will hinge on the margin of victory.
“They’re going to be legal challenges. But what it takes before you can really go anywhere with the legal challenge is a sub-microscopic margin. If there’s a big margin, even a good challenge doesn’t become a good challenge,” he said.