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Election Law at Ohio State hosts events as part of its mission to identify and understand issues confronting the world of election law and administration.

To subscribe to the Election Law at Ohio State mailing list for event invitations, please send an email to electionlaw@osu.edu.

2024 Events

Monday, July 15, 2024 

With John C. Fortier

In 2016, the Ohio State University’s Edward B. Foley explored the history of election controversies in the United States in Ballot Battles: The History of Disputed Elections in the United States. Following several subsequent election controversies—most notably the January 6 attack on the Capitol after the 2020 presidential election—he has written a revised and expanded version of Ballot Battles. While the United States has made substantial progress in expanding and strengthening democracy throughout its history, Mr. Foley argues that the structure of American elections remains a point of vulnerability.

Participants:

Edward B. Foley, Charles W. Ebersold and Florence Whitcomb Ebersold Chair in Constitutional Law, Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

John C. Fortier, Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute

Donald Palmer, Commissioner, US Election Assistance Commission

June 26, 2024

The Election Law team at Ohio State University is hosting a thought-provoking webinar discussing the possibilities of Structural Reform of U.S. Elections, with a focus on the nuanced differences two different electoral methods: one is commonly called Instant Runoff Voting and known to election specialists as the “Hare method” because of its British inventor, Thomas. Hare; the other is best described as “Convergence Voting” because of its mathematical property of identifying the candidate upon whom different majorities of voters converge to elect the candidate who achieves the broadest support within the electorate. Election specialists generally credit the Marquis de Condorcet, an eighteenth-century French philosopher, as proposing the mathematical principle of Convergence Voting (although 500 years earlier a thirteenth-century Majorcan philosopher named Ramon Lull developed the same mathematical principle, but his innovation was lost to history until recently).

Our panel of election reform experts and researchers will explore the pros and cons of these two alternative electoral systems as potential remedies for the problems that currently plague American elections, including the failure of existing electoral structures to produce outcomes that match the overall preferences of voters and, relatedly, the tendency of the existing system to exacerbate the pathology of hyperpolarized politics.


Much more than just a question of technical mathematics, the choice of what electoral system to adopt is ultimately a philosophical decision about what kind of democracy we want. Our conversation will illuminate what’s at stake in making this choice, so that citizens can better understand how to achieve the form of self-government they consider best.


Panelists:

Deb Otis, is the Director of Research and Policy at FairVote. With a decade of experience in research and analytics, Deb is passionate about sharing the data-driven case for why our country needs election reform. In addition to ranked choice voting and proportional representation, Deb's areas of research include comparative electoral systems, political polarization, redistricting, representation for women and people of color, the electoral college, and election recounts. Deb is a graduate of Boston University with degrees in Economics and Physics and she lives in Washington, DC.

Kevin R. Kosar, is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he studies the US Congress, the administrative state, American politics, election reform, and the US Postal Service. He edits 
UnderstandingCongress.org and hosts the Understanding Congress podcast.

 
Edward B. Foleyholds the Ebersold Chair in Constitutional Law at The Ohio State University, where he also directs its election law program. His writing and teaching focuses, in part, on voting system design, gerrymandering, the Electoral College, and electoral reform. Foley is a 2023 Guggenheim Fellow and, from January to March 2024, a Visiting Professor at the University of Arizona Rogers College of Law. For the 2024-2025 academic year, he will be a Crane Fellow in Law and Public Policy at Princeton University. 


Moderator:

Professor Steven Huefner, C. William O’Neill Professor in Law and Judicial Administration, Moritz College of Law, and Deputy Director, Election Law at Ohio State.

If you require an accommodation such as live captioning or interpretation to participate in this event, please contact Issrah Saleh at Saleh.191@osu.edu or 513-908-8491 prior to the date of the event. 

2022 Events

December 9, 2022

Our stellar panel of election law experts reflects on the 2022 midterm elections and considers key issues confronting our election systems in the months and years ahead.

Panelists:
Rebecca Green, Associate Professor of Law and Co-Director, Election Law Program, William & Mary Law School
Lisa Marshall Manheim, Charles I. Stone Professor of Law, University of Washington School of Law
Derek T. Muller, Ben V. Willie Professorship in Excellence, University of Iowa College of Law
Nathaniel Persily, James B. McClatchy Professor of Law, Stanford Law School
Charles Stewart III, Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Political Science, MIT, and Director, MIT Election Data and Science Lab

Hosted by:
Edward B. Foley, Ebersold Chair in Constitutional Law, Moritz College of Law, and Director, Election Law at Ohio State
Steven F. Huefner, C. William O'Neill Professor in Law and Judicial Administration, Moritz College of Law, and Deputy Director, Election Law at Ohio State

November 8, 2022

The Election Law at Ohio State team gathered throughout the afternoon and evening on Election Day in the Moritz Faculty Lounge to monitor election administration issues, gather election news from around the nation, and watch as results come in. Members of the Moritz community were welcome to join us.

September 12, 2022

Alaska’s special election on August 16 to fill the US House seat of the late Rep. Don Young was the first test of the state’s new electoral system adopted by voters in 2020. The new two-round system with its ‘nonpartisan’ Top 4 primary and ranked choice voting general election has captured the attention of election reform advocates and many others

Our panel of experts took stock of what happened in the final round of the special election. And beyond the election results, our panelists shared what they’ve observed about how the new electoral system changed the behavior of political parties, candidates, and voters in Alaska. And just as we did in our related webinar in April, when we explored the question of how Alaska’s new system might work in other states, we considered how Alaska’s experiment impacts the broader landscape of electoral reform.

Panelists:
James Brooks, Alaska-based reporter for the Alaska Beacon
Lisa Manheim, Charles I. Stone Professor of Law, University of Washington School of Law
Michael Parsons, Senior Legal Fellow, FairVote, and Program Affiliate Scholar at NYU School of Law
Benjamin Reilly, Adjunct Senior Fellow, East-West Center (Hawaii), and Professor of Political Science and International Relations, University of Western Australia

Moderator: Professor Steven Huefner, C. William O’Neill Professor in Law and Judicial Administration, Moritz College of Law, and Deputy Director, Election Law at Ohio State

June 1, 2022

In our current highly polarized political environment, the system of party primaries in most states risks eliminating consensus candidates from the general election. These consensus candidates may in fact have broad support among the electorate, yet can be shut out of the process as it is now. General elections often pit two candidates – one from each end of our cleaving political spectrum – against one another with the result that the vast middle feels deserted.

Is the current North Carolina U.S. Senate race, both the just-concluded primary and the general election to follow, a further sign of a national problem? Would other types of electoral systems, for instance some form of Ranked Choice Voting, make a difference? Our panel of experts considered these questions and more.

Panelists:
Guy-Uriel Charles, Charles Ogletree, Jr. Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
Edward Foley, Ebersold Chair in Constitutional Law, Moritz College of Law, and Director, Election Law at Ohio State
Sunshine Hillygus, Professor of Political Science and Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University
Dawn B. Vaughan, North Carolina politics reporter at The News & Observer, and North Carolina Capitol Press Corps President

Moderator: Professor Steven Huefner, C. William O’Neill Professor in Law and Judicial Administration, Moritz College of Law, and Deputy Director, Election Law at Ohio State

April 27, 2022

Like most states, Ohio has an electoral system with party primaries and a plurality-winner general election. But what if it didn’t? Some states are experimenting with alternative election systems that may better reflect voters’ preferences.

Our webinar explored the hypothetical impact of using a different electoral structure – something like Alaska’s new “Top 4” ranked choice voting system – in other places, including in the heated race for Ohio’s US Senate seat.

Our top-notch panel helped us understand the new electoral dynamics in Alaska and considered how the US Senate race in Ohio might be different – from candidate entry and campaign strategy to voter behavior and election results – if Ohio had Alaska’s system.

And what if more states adopt alternative electoral systems? How might that impact elections and governance more broadly?

PANELISTS:
James Brooks, Alaska-based reporter, Anchorage Daily News
Julie Carr Smyth, Ohio-based journalist, Associated Press
Lisa Manheim, Charles I. Stone Professor of Law, University of Washington School of Law
Michael Parsons, Senior Legal Fellow, FairVote, and Program Affiliate Scholar at NYU School of Law

The panel was moderated by Professor Steven Huefner, Deputy Director of Election Law at Ohio State, and C. William O'Neill Professor of Law, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.

2021 Events

November 19, 2021

Only six states require their Members of Congress to be elected with a majority of the vote. All other states allow for plurality winners who, in multi-candidate elections, get more votes than any other candidate, but over half of the voters might have wanted someone else. What does that mean in a representative democracy with an allegiance to majority rule? And for a candidate who can’t win their own party’s primary election (because they aren’t favored by the relatively small and intense base of primary voters), but who would be the most preferred candidate in the general election, what is the effect of a plurality-winner rule? Our panel of experts tackled these questions and others in search of ways to protect our system of democracy.

PANELISTS:
Franita Tolson | Vice Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs, and Professor of Law, University of Southern California Gould School of Law
Derek Muller | Bouma Fellow in Law and Professor of Law at University of Iowa College of Law
Rachel Kleinfeld | Senior Fellow in the Democracy, Conflict, and Governance Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Edward Foley | Ebersold Chair in Constitutional Law at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, and Director of Election Law at Ohio State

MODERATOR:
Steven Huefner | O'Neill Professor in Law and Judicial Administration at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, and Deputy Director of Election Law at Ohio State

An election law professor speaks in front of a screen with a map of Ohio's congressional districts while two, seated election law professors look on.

October 27, 2021

In this in-person event, Election Law at Ohio State faculty discussed the redistricting process going on in Ohio and around the country. At the time of the event, mapmakers in Ohio were redrawing congressional lines under an entirely new set of rules (approved by the voters in 2018) and accounting for the state's loss of a congressional seat. Our experts explained this fascinating process that has significant political consequences for the next decade.

PANELISTS:
Terri L. Enns | Senior Fellow, Election Law at Ohio State
Edward B. Foley | Director, Election Law at Ohio State
Steven F. Huefner | Deputy Director, Election Law at Ohio State

January 14, 2021

The horrendous attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, and the assault upon free and fair elections that it signified, made this final session of our series of roundtable discussions all the more urgent. As with our previous conversations in October, November, and December, we invited our panelists to offer “top of mind” thoughts and let the dialogue flow organically. Discussion included some hindsight-oriented inquiry into “what exactly happened and why?” as well as reform-oriented inquiry on how to fix our electoral system to prevent this kind of thing from ever happening again.

HOST:
Edward B. Foley | Charles W. Ebersold and Florence Whitcomb Ebersold Chair in Constitutional Law; Director, Election Law, Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University

MODERATOR:
Steven F. Huefner | C. William O’Neill Professor in Law and Judicial Administration; Deputy Director, Election Law, Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University

PANELISTS:
Joshua A. Douglas | Ashland, Inc-Spears Distinguished Research Professor of Law, Rosenberg College of Law, University of Kentucky
Rebecca Green | Professor of the Practice of Law, Kelly Professor of Excellence in Teaching, Co-Director of the Election Law Program, William & Mary Law School
Richard L. Hasen | Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science, UC Irvine School of Law
Lisa Manheim | Charles I. Stone Associate Professor of Law, University of Washington School of Law
Michael T. Morley | Assistant Professor, Florida State University College of Law
Derek T. Muller | Professor of Law, University of Iowa College of Law
Nathaniel Persily | James B. McClatchy Professor of Law at Stanford Law School
Richard H. Pildes | Sudler Family Professor of Constitutional Law, New York University School of Law
Charles Stewart III | Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Political Science, MIT; Co-director, Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project; Director, MIT Election Data and Science Lab
Franita Tolson | Vice Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs, and Professor of Law, USC Gould School of Law

2020 Events

December 17, 2020

Election Law at Ohio State was honored to host another conversation among nationally-recognized election law scholars reflecting on the closely watched Electoral College process following the 2020 presidential election. Panelists offered their perspectives on how the process unfolded through and beyond the December 14 meeting and voting of the presidential electors.

HOST:
Edward B. Foley | Charles W. Ebersold and Florence Whitcomb Ebersold Chair in Constitutional Law; Director, Election Law, Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University

MODERATOR:
Steven F. Huefner | C. William O’Neill Professor in Law and Judicial Administration; Deputy Director, Election Law, Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University

PANELISTS:
Guy-Uriel Charles | Edward and Ellen Schwarzman Professor of Law, Co-director of the Duke Law Center on Law, Race and Politics, Duke Law
Joshua A. Douglas | Ashland, Inc-Spears Distinguished Research Professor of Law, Rosenberg College of Law, University of Kentucky
Rebecca Green | Professor of the Practice of Law, Kelly Professor of Excellence in Teaching, Co-Director of the Election Law Program, William & Mary Law School
Justin Levitt | Associate Dean for Research, Professor of Law, Loyola Law School
Lisa Manheim | Charles I. Stone Associate Professor of Law, University of Washington School of Law
Michael T. Morley | Assistant Professor, Florida State University College of Law
Derek T. Muller | Professor of Law, University of Iowa College of Law
Nathaniel Persily | James B. McClatchy Professor of Law at Stanford Law School
Richard H. Pildes | Sudler Family Professor of Constitutional Law, New York University School of Law
Charles Stewart III | Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Political Science, MIT; Co-director, Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project; Director, MIT Election Data and Science Lab

November 19, 2020

Election Law at Ohio State was honored to host a conversation among nationally-recognized election law scholars as they assessed the election-related lawsuits, the certification of results in the states, and the subsequent steps in the Electoral College process. They offered their perspectives on where things stood and where we might have been headed.

HOST:
Edward B. Foley | Charles W. Ebersold and Florence Whitcomb Ebersold Chair in Constitutional Law; Director, Election Law, Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University

MODERATOR:
Steven F. Huefner | C. William O’Neill Professor in Law and Judicial Administration; Deputy Director, Election Law, Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University

PANELISTS:
Joshua A. Douglas | Ashland, Inc-Spears Distinguished Research Professor of Law, Rosenberg College of Law, University of Kentucky
Rebecca Green | Professor of the Practice of Law, Kelly Professor of Excellence in Teaching, Co-Director of the Election Law Program, William & Mary Law School
Richard L. Hasen | Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science, UC Irvine School of Law
Justin Levitt | Associate Dean for Research, Professor of Law, Loyola Law School
Lisa Manheim | Charles I. Stone Associate Professor of Law, University of Washington School of Law
Michael T. Morley | Assistant Professor, Florida State University College of Law
Nathaniel Persily | James B. McClatchy Professor of Law at Stanford Law School
Richard H. Pildes | Sudler Family Professor of Constitutional Law, New York University School of Law
Charles Stewart III | Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Political Science, MIT; Co-director, Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project; Director, MIT Election Data and Science Lab
Franita Tolson | Vice Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs, and Professor of Law, USC Gould School of Law

October 29, 2020

Election Law at Ohio State was honored to host a stellar panel of election law experts from around the country who shared their assessments of where things stood with 5 days to go before the unprecedented presidential election on November 3, 2020.

HOST:
Edward B. Foley | Charles W. Ebersold and Florence Whitcomb Ebersold Chair in Constitutional Law; Director, Election Law, Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University

MODERATOR:
Steven F. Huefner | C. William O’Neill Professor in Law and Judicial Administration; Deputy Director, Election Law, Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University

PANELISTS:
Rebecca Green | Professor of the Practice of Law, Kelly Professor of Excellence in Teaching, Co-Director of the Election Law Program, William & Mary Law School
Richard L. Hasen | Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science, UC Irvine School of Law
Lisa Manheim | Charles I. Stone Associate Professor of Law, University of Washington School of Law
Derek T. Muller | Professor of Law, University of Iowa College of Law
Nathaniel Persily | James B. McClatchy Professor of Law at Stanford Law School
Richard H. Pildes | Sudler Family Professor of Constitutional Law, New York University School of Law
Charles Stewart III | Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Political Science, MIT; Co-director, Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project; Director, MIT Election Data and Science Lab
Franita Tolson | Vice Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs, and Professor of Law, USC Gould School of Law

May 29, 2020

At a time when concerns about the health and safety of our populace and our electoral processes intensified, we were honored to welcome Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose for a discussion about preparing for the elections in November. As their state’s chief elections officers, Secretaries Benson and LaRose were focused on ensuring their state elections are secure and accessible. While they represent different political parties (and states with some longstanding rivalries), their approaches to running fair and safe elections may have more similarities than differences.

We hope this conversation helped demonstrate and foster bipartisan cooperation.

SPEAKERS:
Jocelyn Benson | Michigan Secretary of State
Frank LaRose | Ohio Secretary of State

MODERATORS:
Edward B. Foley | Charles W. Ebersold and Florence Whitcomb Ebersold Chair in Constitutional Law; Director, Election Law, Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University
Steven F. Huefner | C. William O’Neill Professor in Law and Judicial Administration; Deputy Director, Election Law, Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University

Please excuse the set up issues in the first minute of the video.

May 4, 2020

A panel of over two dozen nationally recognized legal scholars, political scientists, and experts in election administration, Electoral College procedures, and presidential succession grappled with the legal issues that could arise in a series of hypothetical scenarios involving the 2020 presidential election.

The conversations were divided into three distinct time frames from Election Day to Inauguration Day when complex legal issues could test our electoral process in new and serious ways.

This event was not merely an academic exercise, but an effort to identify the potential legal risks looming over the election and spark a national discussion about how we can put our country in a better position to handle similar scenarios should they arise.

April 15, 2020

A lively and timely discussion about the Electoral College – its contentious history, shortcomings, and potential reform – with Ned Foley, Director of Election Law at The Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law, and Jesse Wegman, New York Times editorial board member. In recently published books, Foley and Wegman each delve deeply into the fascinating history of the Electoral College and examine its function in the outcomes of recent elections, but ultimately arrive at different prescriptions for how (or whether) to “fix” it.

Anyone interested in a thoughtful exchange about the process of how we select our presidents will consider this 75 minutes well spent.

Jesse Wegman
Editorial Board Member | The New York Times
Jesse Wegman is the author of Let the People Pick the President: The Case for Abolishing the Electoral College (St. Martin’s Press, 2020). He is a member of the New York Times editorial board, where he has written about the Supreme Court and legal affairs since 2013. He previously worked as a reporter, editor, and producer at outlets including National Public Radio, The New York Observer, Reuters, The Daily Beast and Newsweek. He graduated from New York University School of Law in 2005.

Edward B. (“Ned”) Foley
Director of Election Law | Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University
Ned Foley is the author of Presidential Elections and Majority Rule: The Rise, Demise, and Potential Restoration of the Jeffersonian Electoral College (Oxford University Press, 2020). He directs the election law program at The Ohio State University, where he also holds the Ebersold Chair in Constitutional Law. He is also the author of the acclaimed book Ballot Battles: The History of Disputed Elections in the United States (Oxford University Press, 2016).

January 17, 2020

Co-organized by The Ohio State Technology Law Journal, the Program on Data and Governance, Election Law at Ohio State, and the Center for Interdisciplinary Law and Policy Studies.

In 2016, American technology was used to sabotage American elections in ways that shocked the nation and the world. At the same time, that same technology has been celebrated for facilitating unprecedented political organization and participation. As lawmakers, election officials, and lawyers work to protect elections across the globe, they will need a detailed understanding of the technologies at stake. What are the technological threats and opportunities for election governance in the interconnected digital environment of the 21st century? How should those threats and opportunities be affected by law, regulation, and policy?

The Ohio State Technology Law Journal hosted its annual symposium to tackle this new reality. Three panels of experts in law, computer science, political science, and journalism addressed a range of topics including: proposals to improve and monitor ballot technology; state and federal reforms to secure the accuracy of the voting process; content moderation of political speech on social media sites; regulation of campaign finance, including foreign sources; and online intimidation of voters.