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Election Law @ Moritz

Free & Fair

French vote-counting dispute

The media is reporting this morning that France’s conservative opposition party has become mired in a vote-counting dispute over the selection of the party’s new leader.

What I’m able to gather is that the “electorate” is rather small: about 300,000 party members entitled to vote (of whom only about 60% cast ballots), with the current count separating the two candidates by about 200 votes or so. Both sides apparently claim “irregularities” with some news stories referring to allegations of “fraud”.

Most interestingly (from my perspective), there is apparently a “commission” with jurisdiction to supervise the vote-counting and resolve the dispute. Some news stories describe the commission as “independent,” but this Wall Street Journal report describes it as a “party commission”: I’m curious to learn more about the status and composition of this commission—and whether this dispute will serve as a test of the ability to a commission to handle a dispute of this nature.

For several years now, I have thought that France might be the most interesting and relevant comparison to the United States in terms of institutions and procedures to handle vote-counting disputes, because it has more of a presidential system than the English-speaking parliamentary systems with which the U.S. is often compared—Canada, Australia, Britain, etc.

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


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