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Encyclopedia > Election law

Election law is a discipline falling at the juncture of constitutional law and political science. It researches "the politics of law and the law of politics". Especially after the famous 2000 Bush-Gore elections, its importance has grown and now election law is taught at most of the law schools throughout the United States and abroad. Constitutional law is the study of foundational laws that govern the scope of powers and authority of various bodies in relation to the creation and execution of other laws by a government. ... Political science is a social science discipline that deals with the theory and practice of politics and the description and analysis of political systems and political behavior. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ...


Some of the questions that are addressed by election law are:

  • Which persons are entitled to vote in an election (e.g. age, residency or literacy requirements, or poll taxes), and the procedures by which such persons must register to vote or present identification in order to vote
  • Which persons are entitled to hold office (for example, age, residency, birth or citizenship requirements), and the procedures candidates must follow to appear on the ballot (such as the formatting and filing of nominating petitions) and rules governing write-in candidates
  • The rules about what subjects may be submitted to a direct popular vote through a referendum or plebiscite, and the rules that governmental agencies or citizen groups must follow to place questions on the ballot for public consideration
  • The framework by which political parties may organize their internal government, and how they select candidates to run for political office (e.g. primary elections)
  • The financing of elections (e.g. contribution limits, rules for public financing of elections, the public disclosure of contributors, and rules governing advocacy groups other than a candidate's campaign organization)
  • The requirements for creating districts which elect representatives to a legislative assembly (examples include congressional districts, ridings or wards within a municipality)
  • What restrictions are placed on campaign advocacy (such as rules on anonymous or false advertising)
  • How votes are cast at an election (including whether to use a paper ballot, or some other form of recording votes such as a mechanical voting machine or electronic voting device, and how information is presented to voters on the ballot or device)
  • How votes are counted at an election, recounts, and election challenges
  • Whether, and how, voters or candidates may file legal actions in a court of law or administrative agency to enforce their rights or contest the outcome of an election
  • What acts against the election process are punishable as criminal offenses
  • The sources of election law (for example, constitutions, national statutes, state statutes, or judicial decisions) and the interplay between these sources of law

Voting is a method of decision making wherein a group such as a meeting or an electorate attempts to gauge its opinion—usually as a final step following discussions or debates. ... An election is a decision making process whereby people vote for preferred political candidates or parties to act as representatives in government. ... A poll tax, head tax, soul tax, or capitation is a tax of a uniform, fixed amount per individual (as opposed to a percentage of income). ... Voter registration is the requirement in some democracies for citizens to check in with some central registry before being allowed to vote in elections. ... Look up Petition in Wiktionary, the free dictionary A petition is a request to an authority, most commonly a government official or public entity. ... A referendum (plural: referendums or referenda) or plebiscite is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. ... A political party is a political organization subscribing to a certain ideology or formed around very special issues. ... Public financing of elections is a reform long advocated to reduce the dependence of political candidates on their financial contributors. ... This page refers to a Riding as a unit in local government. ... A ballot is a device used to record choices made by voters. ... A voting machine is a device to record and register votes to be counted as per any voting system, with or without printing a ballot for the voter to verify. ... Electronic voting machine used in all Brazilian elections and plebiscites. ... A court is an official, public forum which a sovereign establishes by lawful authority to adjudicate disputes, and to dispense civil, labour, administrative and criminal justice under the law. ... A crime in a broad sense is an act that violates a political or moral law of any one person or social grouping. ...

Further reading

  • Election Law Journal - A scholarly journal devoted to election law
  • Samuel Issacharoff, Pamela S. Karlan & Richard H. Pildes. The Law of Democracy: Legal Structure of the Political Process. 2nd Ed. Foundation Press, 2002.
  • Daniel H. Lowenstein & Richard L. Hasen. Election Law: Cases and Materials. 3rd Ed. Carolina Press, 2004.

External links

  • Election Law Blog
  • American Bar Association Standing Committee on Election Law

 
 

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