William and Mary Law School

News and Activities

Election Law Speaker Series: Bert Rein to Deliver "Arguing FIsher and Shelby: The Interplay Between Voting Rights Act and Affirmative Action Cases," October 21, 12:50 in Room 127

The Election Law Society and the Federalist Society are pleased to co-host Bert Rein, named partner of the Washington law firm of Wiley Rein, LLP, to speak about his experience successfully arguing the landmark Voting Rights Act case Shelby County v. Holder and the recent affirmative action case Fisher v. University of Texas before the U.S. Supreme Court. Tuesday October 21, 2014, 12:50 in Room 127. Lunch to be provided. Free and open to the public.

Election Law Speaker Series: Jason Torchinsky on Representing Presidential Candidates, September 24, 12:50 in Room 141

The Election Law Society is pleased to announce its first Election Law Speaker Series event for the 2014-15 academic year on Wednesday, September 24 at 12:50 in Room 141. The event will feature Jason Torchinsky '01, Partner at Holtzman Vogel. Torchinsky will present “Running for President in 2016?  The Complex Laws You Have to Navigate.” An experienced election attorney representing candidates on campaigns, recounts, and campaign finance compliance, Torchinsky will share his thoughts on the intricacies of representing presidential candidates. Torchinsky served as Deputy General Counsel to Bush-Cheney '04. Lunch to be provided. Free and open to the public. 

2nd Annual DC Friends of ELS Reception, March 21, 6:00 at Wiley Rein

The Election Law Society held its Second Annual DC Friends of ELS Reception. This year's festivities included the presentation of two awards. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring presented William & Mary Adjunct Professor Marc Elias with a teaching award for his outstanding courses in post-election litigation and advanced election law topics. William & Mary alum, election attorney, and ELS co-founder Liz Howard '09 received the ELS Alumni of the Year award (last year's award went to Jeff Palmore '09). The law firm of Wiley Rein generously hosted the Friends of ELS event on Friday, March 21.

8th Annual Election Law Symposium: McCutcheon and the World of Political Giving, February 27, 2014, 3:30-5:00, Rm. 124

Participants at the 8th Annual William & Mary Election Law Symposium included Ken Gross (Skadden); Larry Noble (former FEC general Counsel); and Trevor Potter (Caplin Drysdale). Participants discussed the functional impact of the 2013 term's most important campaign finance case, McCutcheon v. FEC.  This symposium draws together election and political law practitioners to explore the practical impact of the case on current trends in campaign giving on both the legal and political arenas. This symposium is free and open to the public. CLE credit pending. Please join us on February 27 in Room 124. 3:30-5:00. Wine and cheese reception to follow.

Rethinking DC Representation in Congress, February 21, 2014, 1779 Massachusetts Ave, NW Washington DC

The Election Law Program will convene leading election law practitioners, scholars, and politicians for this event in DuPont Circle in Washington, D.C., on February 21. The program is sponsored by the Institute of Bill of Rights Law and DC Vote. Papers from the symposium will be published in the Fall 2014 edition of the William & Mary Bill of Rights JournalClick here for the flyer. Learn more from our press releaseevent schedule, and participants' biographies. Registration prior to the event is required due to limited seating. Click here to register.

Ben Ginsberg to deliver Election Law Speaker Series Lecture, “Election Law War Stories” Tuesday, November 12th, 2013, 12:50pm, Rm. 127

Recognized as one of the country's most influential election lawyers, Patton Boggs attorney and William & Mary Election Law Program Advisory Board Member Benjamin Ginsberg will deliver a lecture entitled Election Law War Stories describing his experiences as an election attorney and offering advice to those who hope to enter the field. Mr. Ginsberg served as national counsel to the 2000 and 2004 Bush-Cheney Presidential campaign (playing a central role in the 2000 Florida recount); Ginsberg served as national counsel to the Romney Presidential campaign; and serves as counsel to the Republican Governors Association. President Obama appointed Mr. Ginsberg to co-chair the Presidential Commission on Election Administration which began its work in May 2013. Mr. Ginsberg will be discussing his experiences as an election attorney on matters ranging from campaign finance to campaigns and pols. Mr. Ginsberg will offer his perspective on the development of the field and what it is like to practice in this area. Tuesday, November 12th, 2013, 12:50pm, Rm. 127. Lunch will be served. Free and open to the public, space permitting.

Richard Pilger to deliver Election Law Speaker Series Lecture, “Criminal Enforcement of Election Law.” Wednesday October 23rd, 2013, 1pm, Rm. 124

Join ELS and Richard Pilger, Director of the Election Crimes Branch of the United States Department of Justice, for a lecture on the Criminal Enforcement of Election Law. Mr. Pilger was previously a Senior Trial Attorney in the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division of the United States Department of Justice. Mr. Pilger will discuss his work in the Public Integrity Section where he currently supervises federal criminal election cases nationwide. Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013, 1pm. Room 141. Lunch will be served. Free and open to the public, space permitting. 

Jack Young to deliver Election Law Speaker Series Lecture, “International Election Monitoring.” Thursday, October 3rd, 2013, 1pm, Rm. 141

ELS is pleased to host Jack Young, lawyer at Sandler, Reiff, Young & Lamb for a lecture on International Election Monitoring related to his recent work in Nigeria. Mr. Young is former General Counsel for the VA State Board of Elections, an Adjunct Professor at William & Mary Law (International Election Principles), and Global Advisor for Nigeria’s Electoral Commission promoting Electoral Alternative Dispute Resolution. Mr. Young will discuss International Election Monitoring in relation to his recent work in Nigeria. Thursday, October 3rd, 2013, 1pm. Room 141. Lunch will be served. Free and open to the public, space permitting. 

Ashley Carter joins the Election Law Speaker Series Lecture, “Voter Protection in the 21st Century, the Voting Rights Act, and their confluence on Virginia’s gubernatorial election.” Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013, 12:50pm, Rm. 141

Join ELS and Ashley Carter, Election Day Operations Director with the Cuccinelli campaign for a lecture on Voter Protection as it relates to arguably the biggest race in the 2013 cycle, the Virginia gubernatorial election. Carter has experience in the Maryland General Assembly as a Legislative Aide to Maryland State Delegate John Arnick and was the Campaign Manager for Jeanne Allen for Delegate, MD-16. Cater will discuss the role of recent election law changes and efforts of voter protection in the gubernatorial campaign. Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013, 12:50pm. Room 141. Free and open to the public, space permitting.  (This event is a counterpoint to the event held on Wednesday, September 17 featuring Matthew Weinstein of the McAuliffe Campaign on the topic of Voter Supression in Virginia.)

William & Mary Students to Provide Research Support to Newly-Established Presidential Commission on Election Administration

Five William & Mary Law School students will provide research support to Election Law Program Advisory Committee members and Presidential Commission on Election Administration Co-Chairs Ben Ginsberg of Patton Boggs and Robert Bauer of Perkins Coie. Kayla McCann '14, Shanna Reulbach '13, Jim Ogorzalek '14, Anisa Somani '14, and Megan Mitchell '13 are working to support the Presidential Commission on Election Administration by compiling and drafting research memos as requested. As they are able, the students will also attend Commission meetings in Washington, DC.

William & Mary Students Draft ABA Standing Committee on Election Law Report: Election Delays in 2012

The American Bar Association Standing Committee on Election Law chairs Trevor Potter of Caplin & Drysdale and John Hardin Young of Sandler Reiff Young & Lamb requested assistance from students in William & Mary Law School’s Election Law Society to research and draft a report on election delays in 2012. William & Mary Law students Emily Lippolis ’14, Shanna Reulbach ’13, and Andrew McCoy ’13 researched and drafted the report under Professor Rebecca Green’s supervision. The report is a descriptive effort, drawing on media coverage and interviews with election officials to dissect when, where, and under what circumstances voters experienced delays on or before Election Day 2012. While the report does not itself endorse specific recommendations, the Report surveys observations and suggested avenues for reform from prominent voting rights organizations, media outlets, and election officials. Professor Green, Co-Director of William & Mary Law’s Election Law Program, expressed great satisfaction with the project: “Shanna, Andy, and Emily put a tremendous amount of work putting together this very thorough report. Their superior research and writing abilities really shine through in the final product.” As to the findings itself, Green noted, “This is an enormously complex problem with no one-size-fits-all solution. I think the goal of this Report is to propel discussion towards making voting in this country as efficient as possible. William & Mary was thrilled and honored to be part of this effort.” The final report, unanimously approved by the ABA’s bipartisan Standing Committee on Election Law is available here.

DC Election Law Society Event, Friday March 15, 5:00 to 7:00 at Wiley Rein

The William & Mary Election Law Society is pleased to announce its First Annual Award for Excellence in the Field of Election Law. This year's award recipient is Jeff Palmore, '00 JD '09, Director of Policy Development and Deputy Counselor to Governor Bob McDonnell. Wiley Rein partner and William & Mary Adjunct Professor Michael Toner will present the award at a Friends of ELS event at Wiley Rein in Washington DC on March 15, 2013 from 5:00-7:00. Alumni and students interested in attending, please RSVP [[rgreen,here]].

President Obama Appoints Election Law Program Advisory Board Members Bob Bauer and Ben Ginsberg to Run Presidential Commission on Election Administration

During his State of the Union on February 12, 2013, President Obama tapped two friends of the William & Mary Election Law Program to lead a presidential commission to evaluate and make recommendations to improve election administration in this country. Bauer and Ginsberg are no strangers to William & Mary Law. Both sit on the Advisory Board to the Election Law Program. And, in 2009, the pair traveled to Williamsburg for William & Mary’s Third Annual Election Law Symposium, “Campaigning in the Courts: The Rise of Election Litigation.” The symposium examined the rising tide of litigation as a central campaign strategy. In conjunction with the symposium, Bauer and Ginsberg also filmed a web lecture entitled “A View from the Trenches: Advice for Judges Handling Election Related Lawsuits” for the Election Law Program resource website electionlawissues.org. Moderated by William & Mary Law School Dean Davison Douglas, Bauer and Ginsberg provided their observations on trends in election litigation since Bush v. Gore

Marc Elias to deliver Election Law Speaker Series Lecture, "The Voting Rights Act: Will it Survive the Current Attack?" Monday, February 18, 2013, 1:00, Rm. 133

Join ELS and Marc Elias, Partner at Perkins Coie and William & Mary Adjunct (Advanced Election Law, Post Election Litigation), for a lunch lecture on the Voting Rights Act. Elias served lead counsel for Sen. Al Franken in America's longest and costliest recount. He also recently filed an amicus brief in support of the VRA on behalf of his client Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Elias will discuss the future of the Act in light of the current challenge. Monday, February 18, 1 p.m. Room 133. Sal's pizza will be served. Free and open to the public, space permitting.

Two William & Mary Law Students File Federal Amicus Brief in Virginia Felon Voting Case

On December 10, 2012, W&M Law students Kate Ward '13 and Elderidge Nichols '13, under the supervision of Prof. Rebecca Green, filed an amicus brief in the case Sa'ad El-Amin v. Commonwealth in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virignia in Richmond. The case challenges Virignia's felon disenfranchisement law. Virginia is one of four states to permanently disenfranchise felons. The brief, which did not analyze the strengths and weaknessness of each of the plaintiffs claims, instead forwarded two arguments challenging the constitutionality of Virginia's felon disenfranchisement on due process and equal protection grounds. See here for a more detailed description of the brief and its arguments. Ward and Nichols will attend the oral argument in Richmond slated for February 22.

Annual Election Law Symposium to Explore Election Delays, February 21, 2013, 3:30-5:00, McGlothlin Courtroom 

Heeding President Obama's call to "fix that," this year's Election Law Symposium will draw together top attorneys, election administrators, and scholars to examine the problem of Election Day delays. Confirmed participants include former White House Counsel Robert Bauer of Perkins Coie, Doug Chapin of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Cleta Mitchell of Foley & Lardner, Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, University of Maryland election technology expert Professor Paul Herrnson, and John Fortier of the Bipartisan Policy Center. This event is free and open to the public. 

The Election Law Program Completes Third Election Law War Game, Neenah, WI December 7, 2012

On December 7, 2012, the Election Law Program undertook its third “Election Law War Game” at a conference of trial and appellate judges in Neenah, Wisconsin. Two very able Wisconsin election attorneys, James Troupis and Matthew O'Neill, artfully argued their case before a three-judge panel and our audience of Wisconsin judges. The Wisconsin war game focused on a hypothetical scenario developed with the enthusiastic participation of the director of Wisconsin's elections. The scenario explored the issue of ballot spoliation and the right to recast a ballot spoiled upon accidental overvoting in a 2014 gubernatorial election. While one Wisconsin statute allows for in-person voters who overvote to spoil their ballot and start afresh, another statute seemingly denies the same right to absentee voters. Of particular importance in our hypothetical case was that a design flaw in the ballot (based on a problem Wisconsin experienced in the November 6 election) which caused a high number of voters to accidentally overvote. Those interested may view the full set of documents (scenario overview, briefs, bios, etc.) here.

Election 2012 Debrief: Campaign Finance and the 2012 Election, Nov. 14&15

Join us for this special two-part event: two of Washington's top campaign finance attorneys will speak to students about takeaways on campaign spending after the 2012 election. First on Nov. 14, Robert K. Kelner of Covington & Burling will offer "Citizens United and Super PACs:  Much Ado About Nothing" followed by Neil Reiff of Sandler Reiff & Young who will discuss, "What Does 2 Billion Dollars Buy You?: Reflections on 2012 Election Spending?" on Nov. 15. Both events will take place in Room 141 at the Law School. Lunch will be provided, please RSVP [[rgreen,here]]. These two events are free and open to the public.

John Hardin Young to Discuss Mediation and Election Dispute Resolution at Election Law Speaker Series Event, October 25, 1:00, Rm. 141

John Hardin Young of Sandler, Reiff, Young and Lamb will deliver a speaker series event talk entitled, "Electoral Conflict in Nigeria: Avoiding Violence through Mediation" based on his experience in international election consulting in Africa. Young is a William & Mary Adjunct Professor and prominent election attorney based in DC. Lunch to be provided. Please rsvp [[rgreen,here]]. This event is free and open to the public.

Election Law Society's State of Elections blog provides William & Mary law student-generated state coverage in the lead up to the Nov. 6 Election

Election Law Society members and students in Prof. Green's Election Law Survey course have begun blogging on state election law topics in the lead up to (and will continue in the aftermath of) the Nov. 6 election. Original stories include interviews with state election officials (e.g., former Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner), stories about obscure state election statutes, coverage of election preparedness, and much more. We will be posting 6-10 original stories per week through December. See www.stateofelections.com. Congratulations to Anthony Glosson and Jacob Derr, this year's new executive editors (and a big thanks to Brett Piersma, Patrick Genova, and John Loughney for a job well done running the blog last year).

25th Annual Supreme Court Preview Features "Election Law Panel," September 29, Rm. 119, 9:00-9:50

This year's Supreme Court Preview will feature Joan Biskupic of Reuters, Debo Adegbile, Acting President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, and Michael Carvin of Jones Day who argued on behalf of George W. Bush before the Florida Supreme Court in the 2000 controversy. Appellate attorney Paul Smith of Jenner & Block will moderate. For information on registering for this event, please click here. Students are welcome to attend for free.

Election Law Program Hosts "Colorado Election Law War Game" at Colorado Judicial Conference, Vail, CO, September 11, 2012

The Election Law Program hosted its second Election Law War Game on September 11 in Vail, CO.  Colorado election attorneys Martha Tierney and Mario Nicolas argued a hypothetical case involving public access to voted ballots before a three-judge panel comprised of judges from the Colorado Court of Appeals and the Denver District Court. William & Mary Law students Megan Mitchell ‘13 and Jim Orgozalek ‘14 (with assistance from Andrew McCoy ‘13) fully briefed the case under the supervision of the Program’s Co-Director, Professor Rebecca Green, and with input from the Colorado counsel, Colorado’s Director of Elections Judd Choate, and national election law expert Professor Steven Huefner of the Ohio State University’s Michael E. Moritz College of Law. Materials from the event and video of the oral argument will soon be available at www.electionlawissues.org. The Program would like to thank the Colorado Secretary of State's Office for assistance developing ideas for the scenario, and the Deer Creek Foundation for its generous support.

Election Law Speaker Series: Professor Richard L. Hasen, "The Voting Wars," October 9, 2012, 12:50, Rm. 124

National Election Law expert Rick Hasen of the University of California Irvine School of Law will deliver a talk at William & Mary Law School on his latest work, The Voting Wars. In his book, Professor Hasen chronicles and analyzes the battles over election rules from 2000 to the present. From a nonpartisan standpoint he explores the rising number of election-related lawsuits and charges of voter fraud as well as the decline of public confidence in fair results. He explains why future election disputes will be worse than previous ones—more acrimonious, more distorted by unsubstantiated allegations, and amplified by social media. Professor Hasen's talk, the first of this year's Election Law Speaker Series, is free and open to the public. Tues. Oct. 9, 12:50 in Rm. 124.

Election Law Program Hosts "Virginia Election Law War Game" at the Judicial Conference of Virginia, May 16, 2012

With generous support from the Deer Creek Foundation, the Election Law Program ran its first in a series of state election law "war games" at the Judicial Conference of Virginia in Norfolk, VA on May 16, 2012. Based on a fictional scenario involving a malfunctioning DRE machine in a too-close-to-call US Senate race between Tim Kaine and George Allen in November 2012, the war game had two goals: (1) to troubleshoot a vague Virginia election statute, and (2) to demonstrate for judges and others the unique nature of election litigation. Stefan Passantino of McKenna, Long & Aldridge and Jessica Ring Amunson of Jenner & Block argued the case before a three judge panel consisting of Prof. John Harrison of UVA Law School, Prof. John Levy of William & Mary Law (emeritus), and Prof. Edward Foley of the Moritz School of Law in Ohio (who also serves as an advisor to the project). William & Mary Law students Megan Mitchell '13, Jim Orgozalek '14 and Andrew McCoy '13 helped craft the fact pattern and prepare briefs and other supporting documents. Virginia state court judges, state election administrators, policy makers, technologists and academics attended. More information about the event is available here. Video of the event will soon be available here.

Final Election Law Speaker Series Session: W&M Alum Carolyn Fiddler to speak on "Careers in Political Law," Thursday April 12, 1:00 pm in Rm. 133
Come to the final Election Law Society Speaker Series event of the year! William & Mary alumna Carolyn Fiddler will hold a discussion this Thursday, April 12 at 1 p.m. in Room 133 on careers in election law and political media. Ms. Fiddler is the former Communications Director of the Democratic Legislative Coordinated Campaign (DLCC). FREE PANERA will be served! Please RSVP: rtprovencher@email.wm.edu
Election Law Speaker Series Event: Marc Elias of Perkins Coie on "The Rise of Super PACs," [DATE CHANGE:] March 21, 12:50-1:50, Rm. 141

Partner at Perkins Coie, renowned election law attorney and William & Mary Law School adjunct professor Marc Elias will deliver a talk on "The Rise of SuperPACS." Elias serves as general counsel to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and represents numerous U.S. Senators and Representatives and their campaigns. Come hear from one of the leaders in the field how candidates are navigating the post-Citizens United campaign finance world. Join us March 15, 12:50-1:50, Rm. 141. Lunch to be provided for those who rsvp [[rgreen,here]]. [NOTE: THIS EVENT WAS ORIGINALLY SCHEDULED FOR March 15]

William & Mary Election Law Symposium:  More Money More Problems? Money in Judicial Elections, March 29, 2012

William & Mary's Election Law Program and Election Law Society are pleased to announce the Fifth Annual Election Law Symposium, More Money More Problems? Money in Judiical Elections. Distinguished participants include the Hon. Tom Phillips, Chief Justice, Texas Supreme Court (ret.); the Hon. Marsha Ternus, Chief Justice, Iowa Supreme Court (ret.); the Hon. Brent Benjamin, Justice, West Virginia Supreme Court of Apeals; the Hon. Penny White, Chief Justice, Tennessee Supreme Court (ret.); and prominent campaign finance attorney James Bopp, General Counsel for the James Madison Center for Free Speech. SCOTUSblog's Lyle Denniston will moderate. More information is available here. The Symposium will take place in Room 119 on March 29 at 3:30 A reception will follow. The Symposium is free and open to the public.

Chris Delacey to Discuss Careers in Election Law, Tuesday November 15, 2011 at 1:00, Room 127

Election law attorney and William & Mary graduate, Chris Delacey, will present a talk titled, "Getting a Job in Election Law." Mr. Delacey's talk will be the Election Law Society's third Election Law Speaker Series event, and will take place on November 15, 2011 in Room 127. Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP [[rgreen,here]]. This event is co-sponsored with OCS, so those interested may also RSVP on Symplicity. 

John Hardin Young to Speak about Afghan Constitution Building and Electoral Reform, Thursday October 20, 2011 at 12:50, Room 133 

Washington, DC election attorney and William & Mary adjunct professor John Hardin Young of Sandler, Reiff, Young & Lamb will present at the Election Law Society's second Election Law Speaker Series Event on October 20, 2011. Mr. Young's talk is titled, "Constitution Building and Electoral Reform in Afghanistan." The talk will take place in Room 133. Please RSVP [[rgreen,here]]. Lunch will be provided. This event is co-sponsored with the International Law Society.

William & Mary's Tidewater Roots Poll Project Starts Up New Recruiting Season

Ten William & Mary Law students working for the Tidewater Roots Poll Project, an Election Assistance Commission-funded project, are actively recruiting students at 4 area colleges to train as poll workers for Election Day 2011. Students Alex Grout '12 and Sam Robinson '11 conceived the project as a means of inspiring a new generation of poll workers in Virginia by connecting experienced poll workers with students eager to learn the ropes. The Project features "intergenerational breakfasts" at which recruited students and experienced Virginia poll workers share a meal and learn from each other about civic engagement in Virginia. For information about the Project or how you can get invovled, email us [[rgreen,here]].

Election Law Speaker Series Event: Josh Rosenstein, September 19, 1:00

Lobbying lawyer Josh Rosenstein will deliver a talk titled, “Pay-to-Play: Cabining Lobbyist and Contractor Participation in the Political Process.”  Rosenstein, Vice President and General Counsel at Dutko Worldwide, a prominent Washington lobbying firm, will discuss President Obama’s draft Executive Order governing disclosure of contributions by contractors; the ABA’s recommended bar on lobbyist fundraising for appropriations members; and certain state restrictions (like Colorado’s now-invalid Amendment 54 that barred donations from contractors and their families).  Rosenstein's talk will take place in Room 124 at 1:00. Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP by clicking [[rgreen, here]].

William & Mary Law Brings Home the Gold in the Virginia Redistricting Competition

The Virginia Redistricting Competition announced its winners on March 22. The William & Mary Law School team won the U.S. Congressional Governor/Commission division. The W&M Law team also took home a second place finish for its state senate map in the Competition division.  The team's narratives (essays describing maps the team submitted) also received distinction from the judges, who noted that the William & Mary Law narratives “set the standard” for the competition.  The full results from the Competition are available here. More information about the William & Mary Law team available here.

Learn about our past events here!