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Edward B. Foley
Free & Fair is a collection of writings by Edward B. Foley, one of the nation's preeminent experts on election law.

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Papers from Princeton Conference: Pildes, others

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May 2, 2006

Rick Pildes has kindly sent me the revised version of the paper he delivered last month at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School, for conference called "Making Every Vote Count: A Colloquium on Electoral Reform Legislation." Rick's paper is itself entitled The Future of Voting Rights Policy: From Anti-Discrimination to the Right to Vote, and he has provided this abstract.

In addition to Rick's, the conference included papers from Richard Briffault, Guy-Uriel Charles, and the joint presentation of Sarah Liebschutz and Daniel Palazzolo. The full of set of papers, in the drafts that were presented at the conference, are available on the Wilson School's web site, as is a further description of the conference itself.

I was fortunate to be able to present a paper myself at this conference, and it is included among the drafts available on the Princeton web site (and also here). In addition, a written version of the oral remarks I delivered at the conference might serve as useful synopsis of my paper. Entitled Optimality, not Perfection, Should Be the Goal of Election Administration, these remarks (like the paper itself) makes the point that our voting rights rhetoric inappropriately demands perfection from the voting counting process. Instead, we need to develop a more modest conception of democratic legitimacy, one which accepts the inevitability of flawed results in extremely close elections (because of our need to honor other important social values that conflict with electoral accuracy).