There are a lot of important competitive races all around the country this year. Focusing on five midwestern states that border the Great Lakes - Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois - there are Senate and/or gubernatorial races in all of them, most of which are currently projected to be close. These states also have U.S. House of Representative races worth watching.
Election Law @ Moritz has been fortunate to receive a grant from the Joyce Foundation to produce a book-length study of the laws in these five states that concern the voting administration process - what we are tentatively calling From Registration to Recounts. This study will not be complete until the summer of 2007. Meanwhile, for the immediate purpose of this fall's elections, we are asking whether voting administration laws of these states are currently equipped to handle problems that might arise in the context of a close vote in a major race.
To this end, we have identified 50 questions that we think is important to ask of each of these state's voting administration laws. Over the next few weeks, we will be posting on this website our best efforts to answer these questions. In many instances, the relevant law - whether found in statutes, administrative decrees, judicial decisions, or some combination thereof - is not straightforward but rather requires considerable analysis and interpretation. In a few instances, moreover, we have found that a state's laws seem not to provide any answer at all.
Credit for assembling these Questions & Answers goes to the new Website Editor of Election Law @ Mortiz, Nathan Cemenska, and a team of research assistants who have been working throughout the summer on this project. Terri Enns has extensively assisted in the preparation and editing of these Questions & Answers. Steve Huefner and Dan Tokaji also have contributed to this project, and they will be especially involved in the larger Joyce study. (Steve is serving as its leader.)
We hope that our readers will find a wealth of useful information in these Questions & Answers, which address the points on which a state's legal system is most likely to be vulnerable in the event of a disputed close election.