With just a few weeks to go until the midterms, elections are currently dominating the national discourse. Are you interested in the ins and outs of election law? William & Mary Law School is hosting an Election Law Panel on Zoom this Tuesday, October 25th at 7PM. Panelists include Professor Rebecca Green, who teaches Election Law and Co-Directs the Law School’s Election Law Program, as well as alum and redistricting law expert Drew Marvel ’19 and current Election Law Society (ELS) Co-Presidents Gray Whitsett ’24 and Blair Page ’24.
The panelists will discuss why election law is such an important topic, now more than ever. As Professor Green sees it, the U.S. electoral system is facing “unprecedented pressure” as a result of “plummeting public confidence in election outcomes” and “a dramatic increase in election litigation.” Meanwhile, she adds, misinformation is exacerbating the strain on the U.S. electoral system.
Marvel also cites misinformation as one of the factors putting U.S. elections under “intense scrutiny” as we approach the midterms. “In the age of rampant misinformation and disinformation, understanding these complex and ever-changing bodies of [election] law is imperative for informing our policy choices and ensuring the longevity of American democracy,” he says.
For Marvel, the Election Law Program at William & Mary Law was an invaluable resource in helping him learn about election law and discover professional opportunities in the field. He now works for Fair Lines America, a nonprofit focusing on fair and legal redistricting, among other topics. Marvel credits the Election Law Program with helping him advance in his career and reach his current role.
“Regardless of whether you plan on practicing election law or just have a passing interest in the field, [William & Mary’s Election Law Society] is an incredibly rewarding and valuable group to be a part of,” he says.
Whitsett, a current student, agrees. He specifically cites the relationships between the Law School and election law professionals as an advantage for students interested in the field. But even if students aren’t necessarily planning to practice election law long-term, they can benefit from “learn[ing] transferable legal analysis, research, and writing skills by getting involved with the ELS,” he says.
Professor Green stresses that the election law community at William & Mary Law is nonpartisan, calling that a point of pride. Students and alumni of the Election Law Society represent both sides of the political aisle. “Whether you’re drawing redistricting maps, researching federal election laws, or combing through state statutory material, you’re very likely to work across the aisle on a number of projects as an ELS student at William & Mary Law,” she says.
If you’re interested in learning more about election law opportunities at William & Mary Law, don’t forget to register for the Election Law Panel! Whitsett sees the Zoom as an example of the ways the William & Mary Law community goes above and beyond to provide more opportunities for students.
“We’re really fortunate to have professors and alumni that care about both election law and the quality of students’ experience to give their free time to a panel,” he says. “That ‘extra mile’ treatment is so important to students who are figuring out their professional interests and navigating their studies.”