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Election Law @ Moritz


Pennsylvania officials fear electoral flood tomorrow

Pennsylvania is appearing today as perhaps the state least prepared to handle the expected voter turnout tomorrow. The Philadelphia Inquirer is quoting the City Attorney as saying: "It's going to be, I think, extraordinarily crowded." This is on top of the mayor, as well as the governor, urging voters—when they can—to vote in the middle of the day, rather than in the morning or evening.

According to a separate report in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, an extra state judge has been assigned to handle anticipated litigation over long lines, and other polling places problems, that may arise there.

In light of this situation, one wonders whether the lawsuit that secured the use of emergency paper ballots in the event that 50% of machines become inoperable in a particular polling case will be invoked to permit the use of these paper ballots even if all the machines are operating. Pennsylvania lacks the "early voting" option that may work to ease the demand on the infrastructure elsewhere tomorrow.

Question: if a polling place has only 50% of the voting machines that it arguably should have to handle the level of anticipated turnout, is that the same for Fourteenth Amendment purposes under last week's ruling as a polling place that allocated the correct number of machines but 50% have become inoperable?

Edward B. Foley is Director of the Election Law @ Moritz program. His primary area of current research concerns the resolution of disputed elections. Having published several law journal articles on this topic, he is currently writing a book on the history of disputed elections in the United States. He is also serving as Reporter for the American Law Institute's new Election Law project. Professor Foley's "Free & Fair" is a collection of his writings that he has penned for Election Law @ Moritz. View Complete Profile


Edward B. Foley

Of Bouncing Balls and a Big Blue Shift

Edward B. Foley

It is a fortuitous coincidence that the University of Virginia’s Journal of Law & Politics has just published a piece of mine that shows the relevance of the current vote-counting process in Virginia’s Attorney General election to what might happen if the 2016 presidential election turns on a similar vote-counting process in Virginia. 

Read full post here.

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In the News

Daniel P. Tokaji

Ohio treasurer receives OK to host town halls

Professor Daniel Tokaji was quoted in an article from the Associated Press about an attorney general opinion that allows the Ohio treasurer to conduct telephone town halls using public money. The opinion will likely have broad ramifications for the upcoming elections, Tokaji said.

“As a practical matter, while that legal advice is certainly right, very serious concerns can arise about whether these are really intended to inform Ohio constituents about the operations of his office or if they’re campaign events,” he said.

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Info & Analysis

Judge Denies Motion for Preliminary Injunction in NC Case

U.S. District Judge Thomas D. Schroeder denied the motion for a preliminary injunction sought by the plaintiffs in a case challenging a new North Carolina voting law as violating the Voting Rights Act and the federal Constitution. Judge Schroeder also denied the defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings. The case is North Carolina NAACP v. McCrory.

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