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Election Law @ Moritz

Free & Fair

French vote-counting dispute

The media is reporting this morning that France’s conservative opposition party has become mired in a vote-counting dispute over the selection of the party’s new leader.

What I’m able to gather is that the “electorate” is rather small: about 300,000 party members entitled to vote (of whom only about 60% cast ballots), with the current count separating the two candidates by about 200 votes or so. Both sides apparently claim “irregularities” with some news stories referring to allegations of “fraud”.

Most interestingly (from my perspective), there is apparently a “commission” with jurisdiction to supervise the vote-counting and resolve the dispute. Some news stories describe the commission as “independent,” but this Wall Street Journal report describes it as a “party commission”: I’m curious to learn more about the status and composition of this commission—and whether this dispute will serve as a test of the ability to a commission to handle a dispute of this nature.

For several years now, I have thought that France might be the most interesting and relevant comparison to the United States in terms of institutions and procedures to handle vote-counting disputes, because it has more of a presidential system than the English-speaking parliamentary systems with which the U.S. is often compared—Canada, Australia, Britain, etc.

Edward B. Foley is Director of the Election Law @ Moritz program. His primary area of current research concerns the resolution of disputed elections. Having published several law journal articles on this topic, he is currently writing a book on the history of disputed elections in the United States. He is also serving as Reporter for the American Law Institute's new Election Law project. Professor Foley's "Free & Fair" is a collection of his writings that he has penned for Election Law @ Moritz. View Complete Profile


Edward B. Foley

Of Bouncing Balls and a Big Blue Shift

Edward B. Foley

It is a fortuitous coincidence that the University of Virginia’s Journal of Law & Politics has just published a piece of mine that shows the relevance of the current vote-counting process in Virginia’s Attorney General election to what might happen if the 2016 presidential election turns on a similar vote-counting process in Virginia. 

Read full post here.

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In the News

Daniel P. Tokaji

Ohio treasurer receives OK to host town halls

Professor Daniel Tokaji was quoted in an article from the Associated Press about an attorney general opinion that allows the Ohio treasurer to conduct telephone town halls using public money. The opinion will likely have broad ramifications for the upcoming elections, Tokaji said.

“As a practical matter, while that legal advice is certainly right, very serious concerns can arise about whether these are really intended to inform Ohio constituents about the operations of his office or if they’re campaign events,” he said.

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Info & Analysis

Judge Denies Motion for Preliminary Injunction in NC Case

U.S. District Judge Thomas D. Schroeder denied the motion for a preliminary injunction sought by the plaintiffs in a case challenging a new North Carolina voting law as violating the Voting Rights Act and the federal Constitution. Judge Schroeder also denied the defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings. The case is North Carolina NAACP v. McCrory.

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