Election Law @ Moritz


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Edward B. Foley
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Weekly Comment

Welcome to Election Law @ Moritz

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July 20, 2004

We officially unveil this web site today, after extensive development by faculty here at Ohio State. Updated at least weekly, this site offers information and analysis useful to journalists, public officials, college and high school teachers, lawyers and law professors, and citizens who wish to learn more about the laws and legal uncertainties affecting the electoral process.

We are careful to distinguish between explanation and commentary. The former is found in The e-Book on Election Law, a unique web-based and searchable reference guide. The latter is contained in Weekly Comments, an archive of which already contains entries written as the site was under development. Several of these early entries address the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision on gerrymandering, Vieth v. Jubilerer, and its relationship to Bush v. Gore.

Because this website is new and still evolving, and because we want it to be as useful as possible, please e-mail us any feedback, including suggestions of items to incorporate and ways to improve.

This website is the product of a wealth of election law expertise at the Moritz College of Law. Daniel Tokaji, whose Equal Vote blog has focused attention on voting machine technology, examines voting rights issues especially as they concern minority and disabled voters. Peter Shane, one of the nation's leading scholars on the law of the presidency, is an expert on the Electoral College. Donald Tobin has published much-noticed articles on the relationship of tax law and campaign finance, testifying before the Federal Election Commission on this topic. Steven Huefner studies state election laws, including term limits and campaign finance, as part of his path-breaking scholarship on state legislatures.

In addition, a host of other Moritz professors address election law issues as ancillary components to research agendas that focus on other areas of law. For example, Douglas Berman, a nationally recognized expert on criminal sentencing, examines felon disenfranchisement as part of his work. Likewise, Mary Beth Beazley, whose scholarship focuses on the communicative effect of language and graphic design, studies the ballot as a legal instrument whose word choice and layout affects voter decisions. Altogether, the Election Law @ Moritz faculty consists of eighteen professors and librarians who spend a portion of their professional endeavors on election law matters. We are unaware of any other law school in the nation with as large a team in this field.

Recognizing this abundance of talent, we have organized systematically to create synergies, making the whole greater than the sum of the parts. Over time, we shall sponsor symposia and conferences and foster collaborative projects among our faculty members and with others, including interdisciplinary initiatives with our Ohio State colleagues who study elections from perspectives other than law. This fall, among other events, we will host a series of panel discussions on topics ranging from campaign finance to the legacy of the 2000 election, with featured speakers including FEC Chairman Bradley Smith and Ohio Governor Bob Taft. Meanwhile, we have assembled this website, which has been a team effort possible only because of our large and dedicated group.

Thirty-five years ago today, Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. While the launch of this web site is nothing like that historic undertaking, it is nonetheless a significant initiative within the life of this law school. We hope it also makes a meaningful contribution to the public understanding of how the law works, often successfully but sometimes not, to implement our nation's commitment to democracy.