Election Law

Earlier this month, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decided a case involving allegations that a candidate for public office orchestrated a plan to put two other candidates on the ballot to split voters and ensure a victory. The case, Gonzales v. Madigan, No. 20-1874, 2021 WL 857476 (7th Cir. Mar. 8, 2021), could have many implications for challenges to tactics used during an election. The litigation involved a 2016 primary election in which Michael Madigan, a state representative who had served as an elected official since 1971 and as the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives for all…
On the latest episode of the WI Law in Action podcast from the UW Law Library, election law expert Dean Dan Tokaji joins us to discuss free speech, the 2020 election, and the effect of misinformation on democracy.  Tokaji discusses two recent pieces: Truth, Democracy, and the Limits of Law, a 2020 Saint Louis University Law Journal article and #2DaysOut: Ten Things to Watch for on (and after) Election Day, a  contribution to the Election Law Blog published right before Election Day, 2020.  Below are a few excerpts from our discussion. Tokaji on the essential norms of our democratic system:…
Dec. 14, 2020 – The Wisconsin Supreme Court has clarified that a “stay-at-home” order amid a pandemic is not a basis, on its own, for voters to declare “indefinitely confined” status and vote by absentee ballot without showing photo identification. The Republican Party of Wisconsin filed an original action to the state supreme court in March, seeking a preliminary injunction and a declaration of rights against Dane County. Prior to the April primary election, the Dane County city clerk posted on Facebook that “during this emergency and based on the Governors Stay at Home order I am declaring that all…
Oct. 8, 2020 – The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled (4-3) that the Wisconsin Legislature has authority to represent the state’s interests in the validity of state laws, a win for Republicans seeking to block election extensions granted amidst COVID-19. The decision, coupled with a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, means that a prior federal district court decision to extend certain deadlines related to the November general election is no longer applicable. Today, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the extended deadlines after granting reconsideration “in light of” the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision.…
Sept. 15, 2020 – The Wisconsin Supreme Court (4-3) has resolved a case that temporarily blocked the mailing of absentee ballots, ruling that two Green Party candidates did not meet the requirements to be named on the Nov. 3 election ballot. Last week the supreme court issued an order to halt the mailing of additional absentee ballots to take up the case filed by Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker, members of the Green Party attempting to run for U.S. President and U.S. Vice President, respectively. The Wisconsin Election Commission, on August 20, ruled that Walker did not meet a ballot…
Sept. 9, 2020 – The November election will be here before you know it. Amidst COVID-19, many people will want to know how to vote via absentee ballot, and lawyers can help their communities understand the timelines and requirements for doing so. The Wisconsin Election Commission and MyVoteWisconsin have a lot of information. This article highlights common questions lawyers can use to answer election questions from community members while informing themselves to ensure their votes count. When is the election? The fall 2020 General Election is Nov. 3, 2020. Wisconsin voters will cast ballots for U.S. President, U.S. Representatives, even-numbered…
The United States Postal Service (USPS) has found its way into the national spotlight as the 2020 presidential election, COVID-19, and absentee voting loom large over the landscape.  The USPS is an independent agency of the executive branch of the federal government that provides postal service in the United States.  In fact, the USPS is one of the few government agencies explicitly authorized by the United States Constitution under Article I, Section 8, Clause 7, also known as the “Postal Clause.”  In other words, it is not your standard for-profit business as you often hear it described in the news. …