Announcement from AALS Section on Election Law, Including New Lifetime Achievement Award to Richard Briffault

Announcement via email (and congratulations for the well deserved recognition to Richard!):

The Section on Election Law’s New Initiatives at AALS

This year, under Gene Mazo’s leadership, the Section on Election Law at AALS has spearheaded several new initiatives, in addition to organizing its annual panel. Please read below to learn more.
1. The Section’s Regular Panel
The Section on Election Law will hold its regular panel this year on Wednesday, January 5, 2021, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. The title of this year’s panel is “Voting during a Pandemic: Lessons from 2020.” The panel’s lineup includes: 
Edward Foley (Ohio State)Rebecca Green (William & Mary)Justin Levitt (Loyola-Los Angeles)  
Lisa Marshall Manheim (U. of Washington)Michael Morley (Florida State)Bertrall Ross (U. of California, Berkeley)  
Eugene Mazo (U. of Louisville) [Chair]
2. The Section’s (new) New Voices Works-in-Progress Program
The Section on Election Law is organizing a New Voices Works-in-Progress event for the first time this year, with the goal of holding such an event at every AALS conference from now on. This year’s Works-in-Progress event will take place on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, starting at 4:15 pm. So far, 25 election law scholars have signed up to present or comment on a draft paper. If you will be attending AALS and wish to participate, please email Gene Mazo (  

3. The Section’s new Newsletter
The Section on Election Law is also starting a new Newsletter this year. The goal of this Newsletter will be to introduce new scholars to our community and, importantly, to list the many new scholarly publications in our field from the prior year in one place. The Newsletter will be distributed in late-December. If you have new scholarly publications from 2020 or 2019, please email a list of them to Gene Mazo ( by December 7, 2020, so that they can be included in this Newsletter.

4. The Section’s new Distinguished Scholarship Award

The Section on Election Law has established two new professional awards in our field this year. The first of these is our new Distinguished Scholarship Award in Election Law. This will be awarded annually from now on for “a single work that exemplifies excellence in the field and that is published within a given year.” The term “work” is defined broadly. Any book or article that has been published in 2020 or 2019 will be eligible for the award this year. If you have published an article, book, or other piece of scholarship and wish for it to be considered for this award, please let Gene Mazo know by Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. 
5. The John Hart Ely Prize in the Law of Democracy
Finally, the Section on Election Law has established a new lifetime achievement award. This award will be presented annually by the Section’s executive committee to a senior scholar in our field for his or her “extraordinary lifetime contributions to the study of election law or the law of democracy in the United States.” The Section has chosen to name this award the John Hart Ely Prize in the Law of Democracy. The John Hart Ely Prize is purposely designed to be the most prestigious award in our field.
This year, after careful deliberation, the Section has chosen Richard Briffault, the Joseph P. Chamberlain Professor of Legislation at Columbia Law School, as the inaugural recipient of the John Hart Ely Prize. Among active scholars, Professor Briffault has been teaching election law longer than anyone in the American legal academy. He has authored more than 75 law review articles, many of which have profoundly influenced our understanding of public funding, campaign finance, state and local government law, and other topics in the law of democracy The John Hart Ely Prize will be presented to Professor Briffault on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, at 1:15 p.m. If you will be attending AALS this year, please try to make the awards ceremony. 

Many congratulations to Richard!  


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