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

Election Law @ Moritz Conference Draws Experts on Election Administration

Daniel Lowenstein
UCLA Professor Daniel Lowenstein provides responses to Commissioner Martinez's proposals and raises concerns about 'constitutionalizing' the administration of elections

The Election Law @ Moritz (EL@M) conference began on Friday, September 9 with a keynote luncheon address from Commissioner Ray Martinez III, one of the four commissioners of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. This luncheon, which was held in Moritz' new Barrister Club, also served as the inaugural event of the Mentoring and More @ Moritz program. Commissioner Martinez's discussion of the work of the Election Assistance Commission and of the importance of strong and fair election administration processes was followed by responses from both Professor Daniel Lowenstein of University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) and Moritz Professor Daniel Tokaji. Moritz law students and their lawyer mentors then had the opportunity to extend the discussion with the assembled election law experts through table-top debate and dialogue concerning various proposals aimed at increasing confidence in the United States' election system.

The conference continued that afternoon with two panel discussions. The first panel, "Redistricting Concerns and Issues," featured presentations from Professor Adam Cox of the University of Chicago Law School, Professor Ellen Katz of the University of Michigan Law School, and Professor Samuel Issacharoff of Columbia Law School, followed by intense discussion with all the conferees. The second panel then considered "Election Administration Concerns and Issues," with more lively discussion following presentations from Professor David Kimball, a political scientist from the University of Missouri - St. Louis, Professor Spencer Overton of George Washington University Law School, and Moritz Professor Dan Tokaji.

Daniel Tokaji
Moritz Professor Dan Tokaji summarizes the presentations and raises additional questions and perspectives for mentoring groups to debate over lunch.

On Saturday, September 10, a third panel considered "Alternative Models - What Works, What Might Work." Professor Rick Hasen of Loyola - Los Angeles Law School, Professor Chris Elmendorf of California- Davis Law School, and Professor Heather Gerken of Harvard Law School each proposed some alternative approaches to issues of election administration. The conference concluded with a Closing Roundtable, led by EL@M Director and Moritz Professor Ned Foley, and featuring remarks from Professor Richard Briffault of Columbia Law School, Professor Richard Pildes of New York University Law School, and Kay Maxwell, President of the League of Women Voters of the U.S.

Throughout the two days the conferees enjoyed many opportunities to interact and build upon each others' work. All who attended, including law students, local lawyers, and other guests, were treated to a stimulating and thoughtful exchange of ideas and came away with a deeper understanding that partisan election administration is a complicated problem to which there are no easy answers. But the conference suggested a number of fruitful avenues for further exploration, and provided everyone a number of questions and ideas to consider.