Kyle C. Kopko, Ph.D. – Symposium Editor, The University of New Hampshire Law Review
In a few short weeks, millions of voters across the country will go to the polls and cast their ballots in the 2022 midterm elections. This year’s elections take on heightened significance because a few key races will determine control of both chambers of Congress. In addition, many legislative candidates will run in new districts created during the decennial reapportionment process. And, of course, the outcome of the 2022 elections will set the stage for the next presidential election.
But residents of the Granite State are well-aware of this. In welcoming guests to the UNH Symposium on “Contemporary Issues in Election Law” on October 7, Dean Megan Carpenter observed that there is a level of civic engagement in New Hampshire that is unlike many other states. From town meetings to presidential primaries, New Hampshire residents take seriously their commitment to the democratic process. And, she noted, “this day is about contemporary issues in election law, certainly, but it is no less about who we are as a society and who we want to be.”
With that backdrop, it is fitting that The University of New Hampshire Law Review, in partnership with the Warren B. Rudman Center for Justice, Leadership & Public Service, devoted its annual Symposium to the topic of election law. This was the first time the Law Review hosted a day-long Symposium. The Symposium program featured 14 interdisciplinary election law experts – representing government offices, civic organizations, and academic institutions. Presenters not only included legal practitioners and scholars, but true to UNH’s commitment to innovation and cross-disciplinary learning, Symposium presenters included experts in computer science, data science, neuroscience, and political science. The Symposium addressed a wide range of election law subjects – including campaign finance, election subversion, alternative voting methods, redistricting, election technology, and more.
The full list of presenters and their presentation topics is listed below. Readers are encouraged to view the video recording of the Symposium, which is available on the UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/_WQYU6rJb24. In the spring of 2023, The University of New Hampshire Law Review will publish a special Symposium issue featuring manuscripts authored by many of the Symposium presenters. You can follow The University of New Hampshire Law Review on Twitter at @UNHLawReview, or visit the University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law website at https://law.unh.edu/ for more information.
The Honorable David Scanlan, New Hampshire Secretary of State. Secretary Scanlan discussed challenges in election administration, and addressed issues regarding voter privacy, the ability of voters to efficiently exercise their right to vote, voting security, and accurately reporting election results in a timely manner.
- The Honorable Barbara J. Griffin, Chair of the Election Law Committee, New Hampshire House of Representatives. Representative Griffin provided an overview of the Election Law Committee, and provided analysis of the redistricting process in New Hampshire.
- Henry Klementowicz, Senior Staff Attorney, American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire. Mr. Kementowicz discussed the ACLU’s role in litigating election law cases, particularly with regard to voting rights and redistricting issues, and he discussed several recent cases in the New Hampshire and federal courts. He also provided an overview of recent New Hampshire election law bills.
- Liz Tentarelli, President, League of Women Voters of New Hampshire. Ms. Tentarelli discussed the history of the League of Women Voters and current barriers to electoral participation. She addressed topics such as voter identification, domicile requirements, and election confidence.
- Todd Hendricks, Data and Research Analyst, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. Mr. Hendricks addressed the requirements needed to present a Voting Rights Act challenge, the need to protect minority voting districts, and recent developments involving the Supreme Court’s Voting Rights Act jurisprudence.
- The Honorable Ellen L. Weintraub, Commissioner, Federal Election Commission. Commissioner Weintraub discussed the origins of federal campaign finance law, the need for a robust disclosure system, First Amendment implications, and the increased role of money in federal elections – particularly from wealthy donors.
- Joel K. Goldstein, Vincent C. Immel Professor of Law Emeritus, Saint Louis University School of Law. Professor Goldstein addressed the ministerial role of the Vice President of the United States in counting Electoral College votes, problems with the Electoral Count Act, and controversies surrounding the Electoral College certification on January 6, 2021.
- Derek Muller, Ben V. Willie Professorship in Excellence and Professor of Law, University of Iowa College of Law. Proessor Muller’s presentation focused on election subversion – especially the refusal of election officials to certify an election result. He discussed writs of mandamus as a potential remedy for such subversion efforts.
- Edward B. Foley, Ebersold Chair in Constitutional Law & Director of Election Law at Ohio State, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. Professor Foley addressed alternative voting methods, particularly a modified form of ranked choice voting. This method seeks to identify consensus-winning candidates, compared to the traditional, plurality winner method.
- Jonathan Cervas, Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute for Politics and Strategy, Carnegie Mellon. Dr. Cervas’s presentation focused upon partisan gerrymandering and whether state courts could provide a remedy to this phenomenon even though these issues are non-justiciable in the federal courts.
- Samuel Wang, Professor of Neuroscience and Director of the Princeton Gerrymander Project, Princeton University. Professor Wang provided an empirical assessment of the Independent State Legislature Doctrine and its likely outcome for congressional delegations if adopted throughout the United States.
- Andrew W. Appel, Eugene Higgins Professor of Computer Science, Princeton University. Professor Appel discussed vulnerabilities in internet voting and how no known technology exists to ensure its security. Professor Appel cautioned against the expanded use of internet voting due to security concerns.
- Eugene D. Mazo, Visiting Professor of Law, Seton Hall University School of Law. Professor Mazo presented an assessment of ballot “harvesting” – that is, whether third parties may deliver a paper ballot on behalf of a voter. His presentation addressed how states regulate this practice, potential security concerns, and under what circumstances a third party may be allowed to return a ballot.
- Bradford E. Cook, Senior Shareholder and Past President, Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green; Former Board of Trustees, UNH School of Law; Member, Advisory Board, Rudman Center; Chair, New Hampshire Ballot Law Commission; Co-Chair, New Hampshire Secretary of State’s Special Committee on Voter Confidence. Mr. Cook provided concluding remarks and summarized key takeaways. He also noted that election law and election administration has taken on heighted importance because voters care about democracy, which is especially true of New Hampshire residents.
This article originally appeared in NH Bar News.