Both campaigns will have top-notch election lawyers leading their legal teams—former White House official Bob Bauer for President Obama, and Ben Ginsburg for Mitt Romney—and have spent months if not years preparing. Many of the lawyers volunteering will be watching polls and objecting to any voting irregularities. Others will be ready to file emergency litigation if necessary. And a special handful will be in war rooms, monitoring any potential for a recount.

For a pivotal recount to occur, several things have to fall into place, says Joe Sandler, a former general counsel for the Democratic National Committee. A recount, he notes, needs to come down to a “very small number of votes in a one state” that would decide the electoral winner. In Sandler’s view, there has been a disproportionate hysteria about a presidential recount, as opposed to the greater likelihood of recounts in House races or even a Senate contest. After all, the more votes there are, the less likely there is to be a recount…

But what happens if the unthinkable occurs? That, says Stone, triggers a multi-pronged approach. It’s not just about the lawyers; there also needs to be a “public-relations element.” Stone argues that campaign strategists need “to get the high ground as soon as you can: you won the election, and it’s being stolen from you.” That, in his opinion, was one of the key weaknesses of the Gore campaign.