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W&M law students draft report on 2012 election delays

Project undertaken at request of ABA committee

Students from William & Mary Law School’s Election Law Society recently completed a report on 2012 election delays.

The report was initiated by a January 2013 request from the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Election Law. Advisory Committee Chairs Trevor Potter of Caplin & Drysdale and John Hardin Young of Sandler Reiff Young & Lamb requested assistance from the W&M Election Law Society to research and draft the report.

The society is the student arm of the Election Law Program. William & Mary law students Emily Lippolis '14, Shanna Reulbach '13, and Andrew McCoy '13 researched and drafted the report under Professor Rebecca Green's supervision.

The report is a descriptive effort, drawing on media coverage and interviews with election officials to dissect when, where, and under what circumstances voters experienced delays on or before Election Day 2012. While the report does not itself endorse specific recommendations, the report surveys observations and suggested avenues for reform from prominent voting rights organizations, media outlets and election officials.

The Law School's February 2013 Election Law Symposium also provided valuable input as the students prepared the report. The symposium, entitled "Long Lines? Bipartisan Solutions to Election Delays," featured workshops with Virginia election officials and a panel populated by election lawyers and professionals, including Cleta Mitchell of Foley Lardner, Robert Bauer of Perkins Coie, election administration expert Doug Chapin, Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, and University of Maryland voting technology expert Professor Paul Hernnson. Participants in the symposium have not endorsed the ABA Election Delays Report nor did they take part in its drafting.

Green, co-director of the Election Law Program, expressed great satisfaction with the project.

"Shanna, Andy, and Emily put a tremendous amount of work putting together this very thorough report. Their superior research and writing abilities really shine through in the final product," she said.

As to the report's findings, Green noted, "This is an enormously complex problem with no one-size-fits-all solution. I think the goal of this report is to propel discussion towards making voting in this country as efficient as possible. William & Mary was honored to be part of this effort."

The final report, unanimously approved by the ABA's bipartisan Standing Committee on Election Law is available here. The report has not been endorsed by the ABA's House of Delegates, its policymaking body, and thus does not represent ABA policy.