Kirkland & Ellis partner Andrew Clubok has lived in Washington since the early 1990s, but his roots are still in his home state of Ohio.
That's why, on Election Day, you won't find him in his 15th St. N.W. office, just across the street from the White House, where he's currently representing investment banks against shareholder litigation and antitrust claims. He'll instead be at a polling station in Columbus, ready to handle any voter fraud or voter intimidation issues that may arise during what promises to be record-breaking turnout in the all-important swing state. "We'll look for pretty much everything, anything that in any way looks like voter suppression," says Clubok, a native of Athens, Ohio. Though Clubok has been an active fundraiser for Obama, he is not going to Columbus in an official role for the campaign.
As predicted in this New York Times story today, lawyers in Ohio could be in for a hot bed of litigation in the wake of a tight race this Tuesday. That would be familiar territory for Clubok. During the 2004 election, he litigated in Ohio against independent candidate Ralph Nader and ultimately got him taken off the state's ballot. He also manned a polling place in Columbus on Election Day in 2004, and ended up putting his legal expertise to use. "We actually did file litigation to keep some of the polling places open and distribute paper ballots where the lines were extremely long."
Clubok says instances of true voter fraud are rare. What are far more likely to arise, he says, are efforts to strictly interpret voting laws in an attempt to find ways to disqualify voters. On Election Day this year, though, he hopes to leave the legal work back at the office. "My biggest hope is that it is an extremely quiet, happy day in which everyone gets to vote peacefully...I hope not to pick up a law book or get out a piece of paper."