Leading up to, during, and after the 2020 presidential election, WMU-Cooley Law School professors were called on by the media as subject matter experts. Associate Deans Michael C.H. McDaniel and Tracey Brame, along with Professors Brendan Beery, Devin Schindler, Jeffrey Swartz, and Renalia DuBose spoke on topics relating to election law and constitutional law, and offered analysis of the election and potential litigation stemming from counting ballots.
WMU-Cooley Professor Beery spoke with Seoul, South Korea’s TBS eFM, an all-English radio station. During the interview, Beery spoke about how early voting might affect the election.
“The situation seems to me, that if people weren’t still kind of suffering from the aftershocks of 2016, people would be a lot more comfortable about where this race is. There are a lot of differences between now and 2016,” said Beery. “The one thing you have to keep in mind is 93- million people have already voted. There were only 137 million who voted during the entire election in 2016.”
On Nov. 2, Schindler joined SiriusXM’s Patriot Channel to discuss why it isn’t unprecedented to know election results on Election Day.
“This notion that we call the election on Election Day is something that has been made up by the media,” said Schindler. “If you want to be specific about it, elections are called on January 6, 2021, this time around, when Congress meets in a joint session to count the votes.”
Schindler also explained the history of why the media doesn’t call elections before the polls close on the West Coast.
“There’s a reason why the news media is hesitant to call races early, it dates all the way back to Jimmy Carter. The early votes were terrible for Carter, he was getting trounced,” said Schindler. “Some of the news media started calling the presidential election before California, Washington, and Oregon polls closed and that was a real problem for people running for Senate and House because people would turn on their televisions and hear the race had been called for Ronald Regan and would not go out and vote. There’s basically a deal now that no calls will be made until the polls are closed at least out on the West Coast.”
Professor Devin Schindler's also was interviewed by TV3, the main broadcaster from Barcelona, Spain, about Trump’s strategy to win in court and the legal and Constitutional realities of why that is likely not possible. "I think it's highly unlikely that any court is going to throw out the will of the people, tens of thousands of ballots based on these theories, which are either based on a lack of evidence or are unique and probably not going to catch much traction with the courts."
Professor Renalia DuBose shares with ABC7 News what it means to the country to have its first woman vice president elect during a recent Roundtable Discussion
McDaniel provided Election Day analysis to WXMI TV, and radio station WWJ in Detroit, WGVU and WOOD in Grand Rapids, and WKZO in Kalamazoo. During his interview with WWJ’s Beth Fisher, McDaniel said, he didn’t expect violence if results are disputed in certain states. “If we have a disputed state election, I can see how there might be certain actions in more localized areas, but the idea of some sort of nationwide conflict seems absolutely contrary to the American public psyche.”
As polls began closing on election night, Brame provided live analysis on WXMI TV, Beery and Swartz were called on by WTSP TV in Tampa, Fla., and Devin Schindler was part of WZZM TV’s panel of election experts.
While several states continued counting ballots after Nov. 3, WMU-Cooley’s team continued offering media outlets expert legal analysis regarding potential legal actions that could be taken by the presidential candidates.
In the early morning of Nov. 4, Swartz told Tampa’s ABC Action News that in Pennsylvania the Trump campaign will, “claim the ballots have been improperly submitted. They’ll challenge signatures, they’ll have a lot of challenges going through a lot of ballots, and they’ll go to court to claim those ballots should be disqualified.”
During an interview with WOOD TV, McDaniel spoke about the possibility of a recount in Michigan because candidates do not have to provide evidence of fraud or error to be granted one.
“A mistake is an error. It’s negligence. You know, it’s, we forgot something, and when you consider all of the mail-in and early votes, and you consider the fact that we have a number of new voters in Michigan … it’s entirely possible that someone omitted the security envelope or forgot to sign it,” said McDaniel. “You check to make sure the signatures match, and that’s an art people might not be well trained on. There’s a lot of reasons why you can find a mistake.”
While speaking with FOX 2 Detroit, McDaniel said, “questions about voting irregularities throws one of our most precious and important institutions into a sense of disarray. We as people count on that. This is one of those things that is important to us. There are certain institutions that we as American citizens have to rely upon.”
Talking about post-election litigation with WTSP, Beery was asked if there is a legal argument that mail-in ballots, which continue to be counted, are illegitimate. Beery said, “there is very little back drop to that type of argument. It’s not likely to fly in federal court.”
During WXMI’s Sunday, Nov. 8, morning newscast, Brame said, “there is a lot of energy around Vice President-elect Harris being the first women and first person of color to occupy the vice president role. The mood of the country seems to be shifting away from fighting over the election and onto what’s coming next.