State of Elections

William & Mary Law School | Election Law Society

Page 3 of 65

Electoral Competitiveness in Washington State – Part One

By Rachael Sharp

Prior to 1983, Washington was among the large number of states whose state and national electoral districts were drawn by its state legislature. This arrangement changed in 1983, when a constitutional amendment (as enacted in § 43 of the Constitution) made Washington the third state to have an independent commission conduct its redistricting process. Washington’s commission is a five-person panel made up of two Democratic appointees, two Republican appointees, and one nonvoting chairperson chosen by the four appointees.

Continue reading

Snow Days: Postponing Elections for Weather Emergencies

By: Samuel Holliday

On March 14, 2017, municipalities in the state of New Hampshire were set to have their annual town elections. However, a powerful nor’easter was approaching New England, bringing with it near blizzard conditions, and many were concerned that the inclement weather would hinder the democratic process. Almost eighty towns decided to postpone their elections despite Governor Chris Sununu (R)’s warning that they would be exposed to potential lawsuits. The issue that arose and, as of November 1, 2017, remains in question is a conflict between state laws governing town elections. Section 669:1 of the state code requires that towns hold their elections on the second Tuesday in March, but Section 40:4 allows town moderators to reschedule the “voting day of a meeting” during weather emergencies.

Continue reading

Tiebreakers Across the Country

By: Cody Brandon

“A tie is like kissing your sister” – the famous phrase widely attributed to Navy football coach Eddie Erdelatz – is emblematic of the American competitive spirit. On my way home from Christmas vacation I scanned through AM radio stations broadcasting in the mountains of western Virginia to listen to the Oklahoma-Georgia College Football Playoff game that refused to end in a tie. The NFL has created a series of 12 tie-breaking procedures that end in a coin toss to determine the winner of a division. One of the most exhilarating legal practices in the NHL is the shootout to break a tie, topped perhaps only by the illegal act of dropping one’s gloves. The Constitution even provides a tie-breaking procedure for the Presidential election in the Twelfth Amendment.

Continue reading

Winter Break Hiatus

The blog will be taking a break from December 15 until January 8.

Have a happy holiday season!

North Carolina State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement: When did this happen?   

By: Hannah Littlefield

 Senate Bill 68 (“SB 68”) is arguably the most interesting election law issue in North Carolina. SB 68 merged the North Carolina Board of Elections and the State Ethics Commission, forming the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement. The boards merged in June 2017; however, Governor Roy Cooper has yet to appoint members to the new board 

What is SB 68? SB 68 is a revision of Senate Bill 4—a bill created by the Republican-led General Assembly—that was struck down by a three-judge panel. The three-judge panel originally ruled that the merger was unconstitutional. Republican lawmakers revised Senate Bill 4, now SB 68, and passed the new bill on April 25, 2017. What is so interesting about SB 68? Three things: (1) SB 68 was created without a severability clause; (2) Governor Cooper filed a lawsuit against the legislative leaders arguing that SB 68 violates the Separation of Powers clause, interferes with the Governor’s ability to “faithfully execute the laws,” and violates the “non-delegation doctrine;” and (3) the press has not really caught on to the importance of the issues surrounding SB 68.   

Continue reading

Judge Blocks Controversial New Hampshire Voter Registration Law 

By: Samuel Holliday 

On Tuesday Sep. 12, 2017, a New Hampshire Superior Court judge placed a temporary restraining order on the enforcement of penalties under the controversial voter registration law known as Senate Bill 3 pending further judicial review. The law, signed by Governor Chris Sununu (R) on July 10, 2017, provided stricter penalties ‒ a fine up to $5,000 and a jail sentence of up to a year ‒ for failure to provide documentation that supports a voter’s domicile in the state if they register within 30 days of an election. The decision was handed down on the day of the first election in the state which would have been affected by the new law, with instructions that the decision be relayed to localities holding elections. 

Continue reading

No Star-Crossed Party Voting in Alabama: Stick with Your Party  

By: Lydia Warkentin

Roy Moore’s defeat of Senator Luther Strange in a special Republican primary runoff in Alabama dominated  the news cycle this September. But flying under the radar is a new Alabama law (Act No. 2017-340), signed by Governor Kay Ivey last May, that prohibits “crossover” voting in party primaries and runoffs. The law states that voters, if required to return to the polls for a primary runoff, like the one on September 26, can vote only for the party they voted for in the primary. In other words, a voter cannot vote in the Democratic party’s primary and then vote in the Republican party’s runoff. Only those who voted in the Republican primary on August 15, or those that did not vote at all, were permitted to vote in the September 26 runoff. Supporters say the goal of the law is to prevent one party from having an improper effect on another party’s race.  

Continue reading

Alaska Joins Growing Number of States with Automatic Voter Registration   

By: Grace Greenberg-Spindler 

Alaska’s automatic voter registration law went into effect March 1, 2017, making Alaska one of ten states, the fourth state to do so in this year, to enact such legislation. The new bill was introduced through Ballot Measure 1 (15PFVR), which passed in the November 8, 2016 referendum with more than 63% of support from Alaskan voters. The bill also received bipartisan support from Republican leaders Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Sen. Dan Sullivan and Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux as well as Democratic Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins and former Sen. Mark Begich.      

Continue reading

Maine’s Attempt at PAC Regulation 

By: Eric Reid

 The issue of money in politics is certainly nothing new, but recent elections have shined a national spotlight on the issue of campaign finance. U.S. federal election campaigns have become increasingly expensive, and the past three presidential election cycles have seen a steep rise in spending. The 2016 election price tag was an incredible $6.8 billion, which was an $800 million increase in spending since the 2012 election. It is important to note that this figure includes money spent by both campaigns, outside groups, and independent organizations. Federal congressional races have fared no better. The 2012 presidential election was in turn a $700 million increase from the 2008 election. The special congressional election in Georgia in June saw the candidates and Super PACs spend a whopping $55 million.
Continue reading

Show-Me Your Voter ID

By: Victoria Conrad

The phrase “I am from Missouri. You have got to show me” struck a new chord to voters this June.

June brought a new era for elections in Missouri: voters are now required to show identification to fill out a ballot. After decades of battling over a voter identification law, Republicans in the state legislature finally got their way. Continue reading

« Older posts Newer posts »

© 2018 State of Elections

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑