Regulation of elections in the United States

Experts explore recent regulatory developments in election law and campaign finance.

The right to free and fair elections is an essential element of American democracy. But what exactly does “free and fair” mean in 2021?

In the past year, 18 states have pass more than 30 laws that impose new restrictions on access to the ballot boxes. Some of these laws impose increased voter identification mandates, while others make it more difficult for voters to request or cast postal ballots. In contrast, 25 other states have pass laws that broaden access to voting, in particular by increasing the possibilities of early voting, providing for Automatique voter registration and elimination of restrictions on postal voting. In addition, the United States Supreme Court has rendered several recent decisions with important implications for voting rights and the electoral district.

In this context, Regulatory review invited thought leaders to comment on these recent legal developments by analyzing trends in federal and state election laws and offering recommendations for future reform efforts. Regulatory review hopes that this series will highlight the important role that law plays in regulating the electoral process.

The contributors to this series are: Richard Briffault, Faculty of Law of Colombia; Andrew Garber, Brennan Center for Justice; James A. Gardner, University of Buffalo Law School; David Schultz, Hamline University; Joshua sellers, Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law; Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, Stetson University College of Law and Brennan Center for Justice; Doug spencer, University of Colorado Law School; and Guillaume Wilder, Brennan Center for Justice.


Brnovich and its implications

September 20, 2021 | Joshua Sellers, Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law

The Supreme Court’s decision in Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee signals a new era of restrictive election laws.


The false flag of political responsibility in electoral reform

September 21, 2021 | Doug Spencer, University of Colorado Faculty of Law

Some state legislators aim to give elected officials control over the administration and election results.


A Faustian case on voting rights

September 22, 2021 | David Schultz, Hamline University

Democrats are expected to accept the voter card in return for Republican support for national voting standards.


Red state lawmakers prevail over campaign finance laws in blue cities

September 23, 2021 | Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, Stetson University College of Law and Brennan Center for Justice

Republican states with large Democratic metropolitan centers impede local efforts to reform electoral law.


The regulatory role of electoral officials

September 24, 2021 | Andrew Garber and William Wilder, Brennan Center for Justice

The legislative backlash against election officials has serious implications for democracy.


The Promise and Peril of Local Election Administration

September 27, 2021 | Richard Briffault, Columbia Law School

Local election officials played a critical role in facilitating free and fair elections in 2020.


Only federal regulations can guarantee fair elections

September 28, 2021 | James A. Gardner, University of Buffalo Law School

Congress should use its constitutional authority to regulate elections and protect democracy.


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