Moritz College of Law The Ohio State University
This Month @ Moritz

U.S. Election Assistance Commission Chooses Moritz Law to Host Hearing

The Election Law @ Moritz project web site and its accompanying e-Book on Election Law became a hotspot for reporters, pundits and the public-at-large during the 2004 presidential election. Project Director Edward "Ned" Foley and Associate Director Daniel Tokaji, along with sixteen other Moritz faculty experts, used the site to provide advice and commentary on breaking legal issues in a manner that was both illuminating and easy to understand.

Faculty experts were quoted in the media outlets worldwide. The Election Law @ Moritz website and e-Book received more than 40,000 hits through the election period. Yet one hit, in particular, led to an important visit.

EAC Hearing
(from left) EAC Commissioner Ray
Martinez, Vice-Chair Paul DeGregorio,
and Chair Gracia Hillman

 

When U.S. Election Assistance Commissioner Ray Martinez went to the Election Law @ Moritz web site, he knew he'd found a new partner in Moritz Law. When he heard that Professors Foley and Tokaji would be in Washington, DC, he asked to meet with them.

When they met, the three shared their perspectives on the election and discussed the continuing need for reform. Tasked by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to serve as a national clearinghouse for information on and administration of federal elections, the Commission was ready to address the complicated issue of provisional balloting. Impressed by the expertise found at Moritz Law and aware of its location in "ground zero" Central Ohio, Martinez requested help from the College in hosting the Election Assistance Commission's first-ever public meeting outside of Washington.

The afternoon featured a public hearing that included testimony on provisional voting from election officials, academics, and leaders of voter advocacy groups. Panelists included Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood, Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, John Lott of the American Enterprise Institute, and League of Women Voters National President Kay Maxwell, among others. Moritz' own Professors Foley and Tokaji served on the academic panel as well.

The hearing was the first step in the process of preparing guidelines for the states on how to administer provisional ballots to voters. Commission Chair Gracia Hillman, quoted in the February 17 Columbus Dispatch, said, "'We really have to collect information and begin to look at what the successes and shortcomings are.' The agency picked Columbus in part because of the legal fight over provisional voting in Ohio, as well as the fact that election-law experts at Moritz have studied the issue extensively, she said."

To view the archived webcast of the event, go to http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/webcast/.