Wednesday, April 06, 2005


Rick Hasen, moderator of the excellent election law listserv, has just posted his most recent law review article. For those who suspect that reading academic legal writing is one of the least interesting ways to kill a few hours (and for those of you who know that to be the case), let me offer a few tidbits from Prof. Hasen's abstract:

In the 2004 presidential election, the United States came much closer to electoral meltdown, violence in the streets, and constitutional crisis than most people realize....Previously unpublished data demonstrate that there is a growing partisan divide over views of the fairness of the election process.

The bad news from the story of Election 2004 is that things likely won't get better in 2008. As Part I details, the extreme partisanship and close division of the American electorate, coupled with the Electoral College system, make the possibility of another razor-close presidential election in one or more battleground states fairly likely. Add to that mix election administration incompetence and a widely decentralized system of election administration with a patchwork of inconsistent rules. What's worse, since Bush v. Gore, losing candidates have become more willing to resort to election law as part of a political strategy: the number of election-law related cases in the lower courts has risen dramatically compared to the period before the case. It all adds up to a recipe for electoral meltdown.

And now for the good news--if you buy Prof. Hasen's analysis:
In Part II of this Article, I argue for three reforms that could significantly lower the risk of electoral meltdown.

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