It’s no great secret that we could do a better job of running elections in the United States. Debates over voter suppression, cybersecurity, conflicts of interest, partisan gerrymanders, ballot design, and many other issues remain standard fare during election season. Often, those disputes are resolved through emergency litigation or ad hoc political negotiation. The result is a frantic, stressful, and litigation-heavy approach to elections—one that largely fails to produce systemic reform or to address well-known structural flaws.
This would be an unwelcome state of affairs at any historical moment. But it is especially unnerving today. Since Bush v. Gore, conflicts between the political parties have expanded to encompass the very democratic process through which “We the People” choose our representatives. Coupled with trends favoring polarization and hyper-partisanship, this development risks weakening the integrity and legitimacy of our electoral system, as well as public confidence in its integrity and legitimacy.
In recent weeks, senior Democrats have indicated that they intend to pass election reform legislation. In light of that possibility, Take Care and Election Law Blog have invited several leading election law scholars to offer thoughts on what smart election reform legislation should look like, whether proposed by Democrats, Republicans, or anyone else. Over the coming weeks, we will publish their analyses. It is our hope that these articles helpfully inform public debate.