Past Events

Final Election Law Speaker Series Guest Hans von Spakovsky, Tuesday, March 24

The Election Law Society hosted Hans A. von Spakovsky, former commissioner on the Federal Election Commission, as its final Election Law Speaker Series guest on March 24. Mr. von Spakovsky is currently a Senior Legal Fellow at the Heritage Foundation.  Prior to the FEC, he worked at the Justice Department "as counsel to the assistant attorney general for civil rights, providing expertise in enforcing the Voting Rights Act and the Help America Vote Act of 2002. 

Election Law Speaker Series Hosts J. Christian Adams, Thursday, February 3

The Election Law Society hosted former DOJ Voting Rights Section lawyer J. Christian Adams who will talk with students about race and politics at the DOJ.  

Election Law Program Hosts Annual Symposium, February 15, 2011

The Election Law Program and the Election Law Society cosponsored an exciting event that examined the role of state secretaries of state as chief election officers. Participants--past and current secretaries of state--discussed the nuances of this role with particular attention to those instances in which secretaries of state must fill in gaps in election laws and regulations to ensure elections run smoothly. The symposium took place on February 15. The Hon. Mark Ritchie, Minnesota's Secretary of State taped a video lecture called, "What Every Judge Needs to Know About Recounts" based on his experience overseeing the Franken-Coleman recount. His video lecture will soon be posted on our video lecture page at

William & Mary Law Students Field a Team for the Virginia Redistricting Competition

William & Mary Election Law Society students have formed a team to compete in the Virginia Redistricting Competition in which teams from schools throughout Virginia will use redistricting software and 2010 census figures to draw maps for U.S. Congressional and Virginia House and Senate districts. For more information about the competition, click here

Privacy, Democracy & Elections Symposium, October 22, 2010

The Election Law Program and the W&M Bill of Rights Journal hosted a symposium designed to bring prominent and thoughtful privacy and election law scholars together to explore the intersection between privacy and the vote.  The schedule and participants list can be found here.  Papers from this symposium appear in Volume 19 Issue 4 of William & Mary Law's Bill of Rights Journal. The Privacy, Democracy & Elections Symposium and the special issue of the Bill of Rights Journal are both dedicated to the fond memory of Joe Doyle.

Election Law Speaker Series Hosts John Hardin Young, October 16, 1:00, Rm. 124

Nationally recognized election law attorney John Hardin Young spoke with students at the second installment of the 2010-2011 Election Law Society Speaker Series. The Series is designed to bring prominent members of the election law field to William & Mary Law to speak on current election law topics and provide students insight on careers in election law. Mr. Young, a member of the Election Law Program's Advisory and adjunct professor of law at William & Mary has been a great friend and contributor to election law at William & Mary.

Supreme Court Preview Election Law Breakout Lunch, Saturday, September 25, 2010, 12:00

The Institute of Bill of Rights Law at William & Mary convened a special election law panel at its 23rd annual Supreme Court Preview. The panel featured noted election attorneys and scholars, including Pam Karlan of Stanford Law, Debo Adegbile (Director of Litigation of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund), Joan Biskupic of USA Today, and Ted Cruz (former Texas Solicitor General).  Topics incuded felon voting, campaign finance after Citizens United, the future of the Voting Rights Act, the initative process after Doe v. Reed, and post 2010 redistricting. 

Noted Election Attorney and former FEC Chairman Michael Toner to Kick of ELS Speaker Series, September 9, 2010

Election attorney, former FEC Commissioner, and W&M Adjunct Professor Michael Toner spoke with students informally on the topic of presidential public financing. Mr. Toner also offered his insights into the Election Law job market and strategies for breaking into the field. 

Election Law Program Posts New Video Lecture: "Redistricting Litigation: What Every Judge Should Know"

The Election Law Program video lecture series on Redistricting is available for viewing here. In the videos, noted election law attorney John Hardin Young interviews national redistricting experts Jessica Ring Amunson, Trevor Potter, and J. Gerald Hebert.  The video lectures provide a basic introduction to redistricting litigation. While the lectures are aimed at judges, journalists and members of the public interested in how courts handle redistricting cases will find these videos an outstanding resource.

Tidewater Roots Poll Project: ELP and ELS Receive Federal Funds to Train Local College Student Poll Workers

The Election Law Society and the Election Law Program at William & Mary Law School are pleased to announce the Tidewater Roots Poll Project, a new program to aid local government in recruiting and training young poll workers. The project is generously funded by a Help America Vote College Program grant administered by the federal Election Assistance Commission. Members of the Election Law Society will recruit and train 240 undergraduate students from six colleges in the Tidewater region: Christopher Newport University, Hampton University, Norfolk State University, Old Dominion University, Regent University and William & Mary.  Click here for press release. Want to get involved? Email us [[elect,here]].

Joseph Paul Doyle, 1981-2010

The Election Law Program and the William & Mary Law School community mourn the loss of Joe Doyle who died in a tragic accident on July 4, 2010 in Washington, DC. Joe was an active member of the Election Law Society, a promising lawyer, and a wonderful person. Those who knew Joe are encouraged to share thoughts about Joe's life here. Our deepest sympathies go out to Joe's family and friends.

Citizens United Roundtable, March 31, 12:50-1:50

Distinguished William & Mary faculty, students, and noted election lawyer Ben Ginsberg met for an informal lunchtime chat about the impact of Citizens United. Lunch (pizza) will be served.

Inaugural William & Mary Election Law Society Speaker Series Featuring Prominent Election Lawyer Ben Ginsberg, March 31, 2010, 3:30-6:30 PM

The Election Law Society aired a showing of the film "Recount." One of the main characters in the movie is Ben Ginsberg, a prominent D.C. attorney for the Republicans in the 2000 recount. As the Election Law Society's inaugural Speaker Series guest, the real Mr. Ginsberg will be on hand to answer questions and offer remarks after the movie. Please join us for this exciting event on Wednesday, March 31st at 3:30 in Rm. 120.

Fourth Annual Election Law Symposium: Back to the Drawing Board: the 2010 Census and the Politics of Redistricting, March 18, 2010

With many states prepared to redraw electoral boundaries in 2010, this year promises to deliver fiery political wrangling in state legislatures across the country.  Please join redistricting experts J. Gerald Hebert, Trevor Potter and Jessica Ring Amunson for an in-depth discussion of redistricting dilemmas. Moderated by John Hardin Young,  noted election law lawyer, Adjunct Professor, and member of the Advisory Committee to the W&M Election Law Program, the panel will provide inside analysis of recent redistricting efforts and offer an insightful preview of the line-drawing battles certain to rock American politics in the very near future. The Symposium will take place from 3:30 to 5:00 on March 18, 2010, Rm. 124. Reception to follow. Free and open to the public.

Election Law Society Launches "State of Elections" Blog

On Monday, November 16, 2009 the Election Law Society launched a new blog focused on state election issues at The mission of is to discuss laws and practices that govern our democracy. It aims to cover voting in all corners of America - the fifty states and the territories - and to shed light on the patchwork of law that organizes the expression of the opinion of our citizens. The purpose of this blog is not to advance any political agenda, candidate, or party, but rather to inform our readers and ourselves about election law and the people that make it happen. Reader contributions, particularly from states not yet covered, are welcome.

Professor William Van Alstyne Speaks on Citizens United, November 10, 2009

On Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 3:30, Professor Van Alstyne will talk to students about the forthcoming Supreme Court decision regarding campaign finance in Citizens United v. FEC. Van Allstyne's talk will take place in Rm. 120. Reception to follow.


Election Night 2009

Virginians elected their next governor on Tuesday, November 3, 2009.  ELS hosted an election night party at Paul's Deli to celebrate the occassion.

Voter Registration Drive

Election Law Students helped law students register to vote in the law school lobby the week of September 28., 2009  

Lunch with Michael Toner, Former Chairman of the Federal Election Commission, Oct. 1, 2009

Michael Toner, head of the Election Law and Government Practice at Bryan Cave and former FEC Chairman, will meet with law students for lunch on October 22 at 1PM.

Democratic Gubernatorial Primary Debate at William & Mary

On Sunday April 19, 2009, the College of William & Mary hosted a Democratic gubernatorial primary debate. The event was sponsored by the Farm Team (the Farm Team's mission is to recruit, mentor and elect women to public office in Virginia). The debate featured Former Del. Brian J. Moran of Alexandria, state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds of Bath County and Terry McAuliffe of McLean, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee. MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell moderated the spirited exchange. The primary will take place on June 9, 2009 to determine which candidate will face Republican Bob McDonnell in November.

Bauer and Ginsberg Featured in Newest Addition to Election Law Program Web Lecture Series 

On April 10, 2009 the Election Law Program added a new web lecture to the Election Law Program website featuring Robert F. Bauer of Perkins Coie (Obama's personal attorney) and Benjamin L. Ginsberg of Patton Boggs LLP (the lead attorney for Norman Coleman in the Minnesota recount and previously chief counsel for the Bush-Cheney Presidential Campaigns). The web lecture is called "A View From the Trenches: Advice for Judges Handling Election Related Lawsuits from Experts Bob Bauer and Ben Ginsberg." The web lecture, which covers lessons learned from the 2008 election cycle, is available for free at   

Third Annual Election Law Symposium, March 20, 2009 at the William & Mary School of Law

On March 20, 2009, two of the country's most prominent election law attorneys, Robert F. Bauer of Perkins Coie (Obama's personal attorney) and Benjamin L. Ginsberg of Patton Boggs LLP (the lead attorney for Norman Coleman in the Minnesota recount and previously chief counsel for the Bush-Cheney Presidential Campaigns), visited campus to participate in a panel entitled, "Campaigning in the Courts: The Rise of Election Litigation." Also participating on the panel were Terry Nelson, a top advisor to the McCain Presidential Campaign and political director of the 2004 Bush-Cheney Campaign, and Susan Swecker, Campaign Manager for Virginia state legislator Creigh Deeds and Senior Advisor for the Deeds Recount. Michael Toner, former Chairman of the Federal Election Commission, moderated.

Journalists Covering the 2008 Presidential Election Take Note

The Election Law Program publishes materials you may find useful in covering 2008 Presidential Election disputes in courts. Designed to assist judges who must must  resolve election disputes quickly, the Election Law Program has produced a set of materials that break down the basics of election law disputes. Found at and in the Publications and Webcourses portion of this site, the Election Law Program hopes journalists covering election issues in court prior to, on, and after November 4 will find these materials a valuable resource as well.

ABA Publishes Election Law Program Materials on its Website

On September 19, 2008, the American Bar Association inaugurated a website intended to assist trial judges in resolving election law disputes in the upcoming presidential election and beyond. The Election Law Program and students from William & Mary's Election Law Society played an significant role in developing these resources. See the ABA Election Resources for Trial Judges page and the William & Mary School of Law Press Release.

First Annual Election Law Symposium March 2, 2007

On March 2, 2007, the Election Law Society and the Institute of Bill of Rights Law hosted the first annual William & Mary Election Law Symposium. The topic this year is "Checks and Balances: The Impact of Money on the 2008 Elections." Prof. Neal Devins moderated a panel discussion with distinguished campaign finance experts. Panelists included:

  • Neil P. Reiff, Deputy General Counsel of the Democratic National Committee and a partner at the firm Sandler, Reiff, and Young
  • Jason Torchinsky, Senior Associate with Holtzman Vogel and former Deputy General Counsel to Bush-Cheney '04
  • Allison Hayward, Assistant Professor of Law at George Mason University, former Chief of Staff and Counsel to Federal Election Commission Commissioner Bradley A. Smith. She also runs the Skeptic's Eye blog (
The Election Law Program at CCJ/COSCA 2005 Annual Meeting

One of the educational programs offered during the 2005 Annual Meeting of the Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ) and the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA) was "Election Law: An Overview of Legal Issues, Remedies and Voting Technology Trends." It was moderated by Chief Justice Gerry Alexander (Washington) and State Court Administrator Lilia Judson (Indiana). Panelists included W&M Law Schools own Davidson M. Douglas, the Arthur B. Hanson Professor of Law,and David B. Rottman, Principal Court Research Consultant at the National Center for State Courts, as well as members of the Election Law Program Advisory Committee.

The program used both real-life and hypothetical situations to structure an interactive session to enable participants to become familiar with the major charateristics of electionl law disputes being adjudicated in the state courts.