Ballot Battles: The History of Disputed Elections in the United States

Ballot Battles: The History of Disputed Elections in the United States

Monday, February 1, 2016
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM


ballot battles
In Ballot Battles, Edward Foley presents a sweeping history of election controversies in the United States, tracing how their evolution generated legal precedents that ultimately transformed how we determine who wins and who loses. While weaving a narrative spanning over two centuries, Foley repeatedly returns to an originating event: because the Founding Fathers despised parties and never envisioned the emergence of a party system, they wrote a constitution that did not provide clear solutions for high-stakes and highly-contested elections in which two parties could pool resources against one another. Moreover, in the American political system that actually developed, politicians are beholden to the parties which they represent - and elected officials have typically had an outsized say in determining the outcomes of extremely close elections that involve recounts. This underlying structural problem, more than anything else, explains why intense ballot battles that leave one side feeling aggrieved will continue to occur for the foreseeable future. 



Edward Foley directs Election Law @ Moritz at Ohio State’s law school, where he also holds the Ebersold Chair in Constitutional Law. His book Ballot Ballots: The History of Disputed Elections in the United States, published by Oxford University Press, was available as of December 2015. Ned also serves as the reporter for the American Law Institute’s Election Law Project, which is developing nonpartisan rules for the resolution of disputed elections. (The American Law Institute is the well-respected professional society responsible for the Restatements of Law and the Model Penal Code, among many other projects.) While Ned has special expertise on the topics of recounts, he is conversant in all topics of election law, including redistricting and campaign finance, and recently co-authored a casebook Election Law and Litigation: The Judicial Regulation of Politics (Aspen 2014), which covers all aspects of election law. He and his casebook co-authors also have a contract with Oxford University Press to write a treatise on election law—remarkably the first of its kind in the United States in over a century. He is also a co-author of From Registration to Recounts: The Ecosystems of Five Midwestern States (2007).


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