As the 2020 presidential campaign begins to take shape, there is widespread distrust of the fairness and accuracy of American elections. Four factors increasing the mistrust. Voter suppression has escalated as a Republican tool aimed to depress turnout of likely Democratic voters, fueling suspicion. Pockets of incompetence in election administration, often in large cities controlled by Democrats, have created an opening to claims of unfairness. Old-fashioned and new-fangled dirty tricks, including foreign and domestic misinformation campaigns via social media, threaten electoral integrity. Inflammatory rhetoric about “stolen” elections supercharges distrust among hardcore partisans.
Taking into account how each of these threats has manifested in recent years—most notably in the 2016 and 2018 elections—this presentation concludes with concrete steps that need to be taken to restore trust in American elections before the democratic process is completely undermined.
Professor Richard L. Hasen is Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine. Hasen is a nationally recognized expert in election law and campaign finance regulation, writing as well in the areas of legislation and statutory interpretation, remedies, and torts. He is co-author of leading casebooks in election law and remedies.
From 2001-2010, he served (with Dan Lowenstein) as founding co-editor of the quarterly peer-reviewed publication, Election Law Journal. He is the author of over 100 articles on election law issues, published in numerous journals including the Harvard Law Review, Stanford Law Review and Supreme Court Review. He was elected to The American Law Institute in 2009 and serves as Reporter (with Professor Douglas Laycock) on the ALI’s law reform project: Restatement (Third) of Torts: Remedies. He also is an adviser on the Restatement (Third) of Torts: Concluding Provisions.
Professor Hasen was named one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America by The National Law Journal in 2013, and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in California in 2005 and 2016 by the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal.
His op-eds and commentaries have appeared in many publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Politico, and Slate. Hasen also writes the often-quoted Election Law Blog, which the ABA Journal named to its “Blawg 100 Hall of Fame” in 2015. The Green Bag recognized his 2018 book, The Justice of Contradictions: Antonin Scalia and the Politics of Disruption, for exemplary legal writing, and his 2016 book, Plutocrats United, received a Scribes Book Award Honorable Mention. His newest book, Election Meltdown: Dirty Tricks, Distrust, and the Threat to American Democracy will be published by Yale University Press in 2020.