William & Mary

Election Law Program launches eBenchbook Project

The Election Law Program, a joint program of William & Mary Law School and the National Center for State Courts, recently announced a new initiative to develop State Election Law eBenchbooks to assist courts adjudicating election matters.

"Building on our track-record of providing election law resources to the judiciary, we are excited for this opportunity to create state-specific materials," said Election Law Program Co-Director Amy McDowell of the National Center for State Courts.

A high volume of election litigation--particularly in close proximity to elections--threatens to erode public faith in election processes, alienate voters, and diminish democratic institutions. "Election law is a profoundly complex area," explains Co-Director Rebecca Green of William & Mary, "yet judges must decide cases often under immense time pressure and with many eyes watching. It is crucially important that judges understand the unique challenge election litigation presents and have the necessary state-focused resources available to decide election cases in a fair, uniform, and timely manner."

To address these concerns, and with the support of the Democracy Fund, the Election Law Program will create State Election Law eBenchbooks in three states as a means of informing state and federal judges about the intricacies of state election systems. Under the supervision of Green, and with substantial input from expert in-state election advisors, William & Mary law students will research and create the eBenchbook sites for judicial use in the lead up to and following the 2016 presidential election.

Adam Ambrogi, of the Democracy Fund, said "When conflicts occur in the election process there is great pressure to solve them quickly. In an increasingly complex legal field it is even more important to provide judges with the information they need to arrive at the right decision."

Information about the Election Law Program is available at www.electionlawissues.org. Inquiries may be addressed to Rebecca Green at rgreen@wm.edu. The program is grateful to the Democracy Fund, a private foundation that fosters the highest ideals of the American republic--government of, by, and for the people, for its generous support of the State Election Law eBenchbook project. Visit the Democracy Fund's project page for more information.