“There Are No Actual Set Rules for Counting Disputed Ballots; Here are some good ones.”

Ned Foley and Steve Huefner at Slate:

This year, in particular, the temptation may be especially strong to distort the vote-counting process to achieve a victory for one side or the other. Given the refrain that the current elections are uniquely important to the fate of the nation, it may be easy to convince oneself that “the ends justify the means” and that the count must be conducted to maximize the prospect that the preferred party prevails, or otherwise the country will go to ruin.

Therefore, if we want to maintain a commitment to democracy, we must adhere to impartiality in the adjudication of vote-counting disputes and commit to the proposition that controversies over counting be settled insofar as possible by rules and principles in place before the casting of ballots. The best way to do that, particularly after such a venomous campaign as this latest one, is for those resolving an election dispute to employ the kind of ahead-of-time principles that the American Law Institute has developed. The need for such principles is more acute than ever.

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