William and Mary Law School

Symposium to Focus on Bipartisan Solutions to Voting Delays on Election Day

Media Contact: Grant McLoughlin '14, [[e|grmcloughlin]], (918)688-1953

The Seventh Annual Election Law Symposium titled "We Have to Fix That: Bipartisan Solutions to Election Day Delays," will be held on Thursday, February 21, at 3:30 PM in the McGlothlin Courtroom at William & Mary Law School.  Admission is free and the public is welcome. The symposium is sponsored by the Election Law Society, the Election Law Program, the National Center for State Courts, and the Institute of Bill of Rights Law.

The event will feature the co-chair of the President's Commission on Election Administration, the Colorado Secretary of State, election law attorneys and scholars, and Virginia registrars. The symposium was inspired by President Obama's speech following the election when he said, "I want to thank every American who participated in this election, whether you voted for the very first time or waited in line for a very long time.... by the way, we have to fix that." This event will draw upon various panelists' expertise in election law in an attempt to formulate concrete ideas and bipartisan solutions for how to manage elections and limit voting delays.

"Since the 2000 presidential election, the public has become more interested in how our elections run. Congress passed significant reforms in 2003, yet problems still persist. In 2012 voters, across several states, experienced long lines, so now the focus is on how to solve this problem," said Election Law Society Co-President Grant McLoughlin '14.

Panelists scheduled to participate include Robert Bauer, partner at Perkins Coie and former White House counsel, general counsel to President Obama's re-election committee, to Obama for America and to the Democratic National Committee, co-chair of the President's Commission on Election Administration, and member of the Advisory Board of the William & Mary Election Law Program; Cleta Mitchell, partner at Foley & Lardner and legal counsel to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee and co-counsel for the National Rifle Association in the Supreme Court case involving the 2002 federal campaign finance law; the Hon. Scott Gessler, Colorado Secretary of State, who has also served on bipartisan election boards and commissions, including the Election Reform Commission that made recommendations to the General Assembly following the 2008 elections; John Fortier of the Bipartisan Policy Center, a political scientist who focuses on governmental and electoral institutions and was previously a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and Paul Herrnson of the Center For American Politics and Citizenship at the University of Maryland. Doug Chapin of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota will serve as the moderator. Chapin, one of our nation's preeminent experts in election administration, served as the director of Election Initiatives at Pew Charitable Trust for 10 years prior to joining the Humphrey School.

Election Law Society Co-President Kayla McCann '14 said "Our symposium draws together a panel of experts to discuss solutions to the problem of election day delays. This year students will work with Virginia voter registrars to implement reforms in time for the 2013 Gubernatorial Election."

Created in 2005 as a joint venture of the National Center for State Courts and the Law School, the Election Law Program seeks to provide practical assistance to state court judges in the United States who are called upon to resolve difficult election law disputes (see Program materials available at www.electionlawissues.org). The Election Law Society is the student organization created to generate interest in and educate students about this rapidly expanding and extremely important area of practice.