Election law
Election law is a discipline falling at the juncture of constitutional law
Constitutional law
Constitutional law is the body of law which defines the relationship of different entities within a state, namely, the executive, the legislature and the judiciary....

 and political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

. It researches "the politics of law and the law of politics". Especially after the famous 2000 Bush-Gore elections
United States presidential election, 2000
The United States presidential election of 2000 was a contest between Republican candidate George W. Bush, then-governor of Texas and son of former president George H. W. Bush , and Democratic candidate Al Gore, then-Vice President....

, its importance has grown and now election law is taught at most of the law school
Law school
A law school is an institution specializing in legal education.- Law degrees :- Canada :...

s throughout the United States
Elections in the United States
The United States has a federal government, with elected officials at the federal , state and local levels. On a national level, the head of state, the President, is elected indirectly by the people, through an Electoral College. In modern times, the electors virtually always vote with the popular...

 and abroad.


Some of the questions that are addressed by election law are:
  • Which persons are entitled to vote
    Suffrage, political franchise, or simply the franchise, distinct from mere voting rights, is the civil right to vote gained through the democratic process...

     in an election
    An election is a formal decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office. Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative democracy operates since the 17th century. Elections may fill offices in the legislature, sometimes in the...

     (e.g. age, residency or literacy requirements, or poll tax
    Poll tax
    A poll tax is a tax of a portioned, fixed amount per individual in accordance with the census . When a corvée is commuted for cash payment, in effect it becomes a poll tax...

    es), and the procedures by which such persons must register to vote
    Voter registration
    Voter registration is the requirement in some democracies for citizens and residents to check in with some central registry specifically for the purpose of being allowed to vote in elections. An effort to get people to register is known as a voter registration drive.-Centralized/compulsory vs...

     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 petition
    Nominating petition
    A nominating petition is required in some jurisdictions in order for an independent or non-major-party candidate to gain ballot access. A certain number of valid signatures is typically prescribed by statute in order for the candidate to get on the ballot...

    s) and rules governing write-in candidate
    Write-in candidate
    A write-in candidate is a candidate in an election whose name does not appear on the ballot, but for whom voters may vote nonetheless by writing in the person's name. Some states and local jurisdictions allow a voter to affix a sticker with a write-in candidate's name on it to the ballot in lieu...

  • The rules about what subjects may be submitted to a direct popular vote through a referendum
    A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official or simply a specific government policy. It is a form of...

     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
    Political Parties
    Political Parties: A Sociological Study of the Oligarchical Tendencies of Modern Democracy is a book by sociologist Robert Michels, published in 1911 , and first introducing the concept of iron law of oligarchy...

     may organize their internal government, and how they select candidates to run for political office (e.g. primary election
    Primary election
    A primary election is an election in which party members or voters select candidates for a subsequent election. Primary elections are one means by which a political party nominates candidates for the next general election....

  • The financing of elections (e.g. contribution limits, rules for public financing of elections, the public disclosure of contributors, and rules governing interest groups other than a candidate's campaign organization)
  • The requirements for creating districts which elect representatives to a legislative assembly (examples include congressional district
    Congressional district
    A congressional district is “a geographical division of a state from which one member of the House of Representatives is elected.”Congressional Districts are made up of three main components, a representative, constituents, and the specific land area that both the representative and the...

    s, ridings
    Electoral district (Canada)
    An electoral district in Canada, also known as a constituency or a riding, is a geographical constituency upon which Canada's representative democracy is based...

     or wards within a municipality)
  • What restrictions are placed on campaign advocacy (such as rules on anonymous or false advertising
    False advertising
    False advertising or deceptive advertising is the use of false or misleading statements in advertising. As advertising has the potential to persuade people into commercial transactions that they might otherwise avoid, many governments around the world use regulations to control false, deceptive or...

  • How votes are cast at an election (including whether to use a paper ballot
    A ballot is a device used to record choices made by voters. Each voter uses one ballot, and ballots are not shared. In the simplest elections, a ballot may be a simple scrap of paper on which each voter writes in the name of a candidate, but governmental elections use pre-printed to protect the...

    , or some other form of recording votes such as a mechanical voting machine
    Voting machine
    Voting machines are the total combination of mechanical, electromechanical, or electronic equipment , that is used to define ballots; to cast and count votes; to report or display election results; and to maintain and produce any audit trail information...

     or electronic voting
    Electronic voting
    Electronic voting is a term encompassing several different types of voting, embracing both electronic means of casting a vote and electronic means of counting votes....

     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
    A court is a form of tribunal, often a governmental institution, with the authority to adjudicate legal disputes between parties and carry out the administration of justice in civil, criminal, and administrative matters in accordance with the rule of law...

     or administrative agency to enforce their rights or contest the outcome of an election
  • Definition of electoral fraud
    Electoral fraud
    Electoral fraud is illegal interference with the process of an election. Acts of fraud affect vote counts to bring about an election result, whether by increasing the vote share of the favored candidate, depressing the vote share of the rival candidates or both...

     and other crime
    Crime is the breach of rules or laws for which some governing authority can ultimately prescribe a conviction...

    s against the electoral system
  • The sources of election law (for example, constitutions, national statutes, state statutes, or judicial decisions) and the interplay between these sources of law

American election law experts and academics are connected in the academic network coordinated by Daniel H. Lowenstein of UCLA Law School and Richard L. Hasen
Richard L. Hasen
Richard L. Hasen is the William H. Hannon Distinguished Professor of Law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, California, United States. Hasen's area of expertise is in election law and campaign finance regulation.-Career:...

 of Loyola Law School
Loyola Law School
Loyola Law School is the law school of Loyola Marymount University, a private Catholic university in the Jesuit and Marymount traditions, in Los Angeles, California. Loyola was established in 1920. Like Loyola University Chicago School of Law and Loyola University New Orleans College of Law , it...

. Lowenstein and Hasen also edit the Election Law Journal
Election Law Journal
Election Law Journal is a peer-reviewed quarterly law journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, covering the legal issues related to elections and voting rights in the United States....

 and the election law mailing list.

See also

  • :Category:Election law in the United Kingdom
  • Court of Disputed Returns
    Court of Disputed Returns
    The Court of Disputed Returns is a court, or a tribunal, or some other body that determines disputes about elections in some common law countries. Sometimes the court may be known by another name, such as the Court of Disputed Elections...

  • Right of foreigners to vote
    Right of foreigners to vote
    Suffrage, the right to vote in a particular country, generally derives from citizenship. In most countries, the right to vote is reserved to those who possess the citizenship of the country in question. Some countries, however, have extended suffrage rights to non-citizens...

Further reading

  • Election Law Journal - A scholarly journal devoted to election law
  • Election Law @ Moritz - a repository of Election Law news and commentary from academics and practitioners, compiled at the Ohio State Michael E. Moritz College of Law.
  • Electoral Studies - A scholarly journal devoted to the study of elections
  • Samuel Issacharoff, Pamela S. Karlan
    Pamela S. Karlan
    Pamela Susan Karlan is a professor of law at Stanford Law School and a leading liberal legal scholar on voting rights and the political process.- Early life and education :...

     & Richard H. Pildes. The Law of Democracy: Legal Structure of the Political Process. 2nd Rev. Ed. Foundation Press, 2002.
  • Daniel H. Lowenstein & Richard L. Hasen
    Richard L. Hasen
    Richard L. Hasen is the William H. Hannon Distinguished Professor of Law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, California, United States. Hasen's area of expertise is in election law and campaign finance regulation.-Career:...

    . Election Law: Cases and Materials. 3rd Ed. Carolina Press, 2004.
  • Electoral Administration Act 2006
    Electoral Administration Act 2006
    The Electoral Administration Act 2006 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, passed on 11 July 2006. The Bill was amended during its passage through the House of Lords to require political parties to declare large loans; this followed the "Cash for Peerages" scandal...

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.