Election by Litigation: The Electoral Process Post-Bush V. Gore

By Zaino, Jeffrey; Zaino, Jeanne | Dispute Resolution Journal, August-October 2007 | Go to article overview

Election by Litigation: The Electoral Process Post-Bush V. Gore


Zaino, Jeffrey, Zaino, Jeanne, Dispute Resolution Journal


How government has addressed election disputes since the 2000 presidential election.

In 2000 the world watched as then-Governor George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore challenged the results of the presidential election all the way to the Supreme Court. The High Court issued two opinions on the election and courts at the state and federal levels all weighed in with numerous rulings.

The second Supreme Court decision in Bush v. Gore brought the 2000 election to an end. But it did little to quell concern that this type of litigation might become the norm. Legal experts began asking whether Bush v. Gore was a sign of what was to come. Would electoral challenges become standard practice in the United States? Would elections be decided in the courts rather than at the ballot box?

These concerns prompted Wall Street Journal reporter John Fund to ask whether there would be a "Floridification" of the voting process-i.e., the creation of an environment in which elections are increasingly resolved in the courts.

As the 2008 presidential election looms in front of us, it seems an appropriate time to consider the validity of these concerns and their consequences, if any.

"Floridification": What the Numbers Show

Almost seven years after the 2000 election, the statistics suggest that Mr. Fund's concern about the prospect of future election litigation is a valid one.

In July 2005 Professor Richard Hasen of Loyola Law School examined the election cases filed in state and federal courts. As Table 1 shows, from 1996 to 2004, case filings more than tripled, going from 108 to 361. Excluding cases that dealt with redistricting, the average number of election case filings from 2001-2004 rose to 240 (from an average of 96 cases per year during 1996-1999).

While one cannot prove that the 2000 election was directly responsible for the increase in election litigation, one could say that it seems to have created an environment in which litigation is more acceptable and therefore more likely.

This perception is widely shared by political party operatives and candidates. Over the last several election cycles, they have been preparing for post-election challenges. Doug Chapin, director of the Election Reform Information Project, refers to this as "lawyering up" and argues that it has become much more common since 2000.

For example, during the 2004 presidential election, both major parties enlisted and dispatched thousands of lawyers nationwide who were ready to challenge voting procedures and systems. By one count, the Democrats retained as many as 10,000 lawyers on standby across the nation, one thousand in Florida alone. During the 2006 midterm election, more than 7,000 lawyers worked for the Democratic National Committee and hundreds of them were dispersed to Florida, Maryland, Missouri, Ohio, and 13 other key states. Not to be outdone, the Republicans sent hundreds of lawyers to Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Tennessee, and a handful of other contested areas.

It is not only political parties and candidates who have lawyered up. The current administration was very busy investigating and challenging election results in 2006. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigated numerous cities and counties for failing to provide multi-lingual ballots. The same year, it sued the city of Boston, alleging that poll workers improperly influenced voters with limited or no English skills.

Nonpartisan organizations have also kept thousands of lawyers happily employed with election-oriented concerns. In 2001, several groups, including People for the American Way Foundation, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Lawyers' Committee For Civil Rights Under Law, formed the Election Protection Coalition to provide voter assistance and protect voter rights. In 2006, this coalition launched the only national voter assistance hotline staffed by live call center operators. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Election by Litigation: The Electoral Process Post-Bush V. Gore
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.