Electoral Due Process

by Sarah Milkovich

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Abstract

Elections and their aftermath are matters left to the states by the U.S. Constitution. But the Supreme Court has made clear that the right to vote is federally protected, and fiercely so. When an election failure takes place and deprives citizens of their votes, challengers must resort to state law remedies. Many states have procedural requirements for election challenges that are stringent to the point of being prohibitive.

This Note argues that the due process concerns raised by these burdensome state procedures are amplified by their voting rights context. Where a voter must take to the courts to vindicate her right to vote, she should not be further deprived by an unfair process. Federal courts hearing cases about unfair election-challenge procedures have been reluctant to interfere and are thus overly deferential to the states.

This Note offers a new approach for “electoral due process” claims—an approach that is properly preservative of voters’ substantive rights and their rights to a fair hearing.

Electoral Due Process

by Sarah Milkovich

Click here for a PDF file of this article

Abstract

Elections and their aftermath are matters left to the states by the U.S. Constitution. But the Supreme Court has made clear that the right to vote is federally protected, and fiercely so. When an election failure takes place and deprives citizens of their votes, challengers must resort to state law remedies. Many states have procedural requirements for election challenges that are stringent to the point of being prohibitive.

This Note argues that the due process concerns raised by these burdensome state procedures are amplified by their voting rights context. Where a voter must take to the courts to vindicate her right to vote, she should not be further deprived by an unfair process. Federal courts hearing cases about unfair election-challenge procedures have been reluctant to interfere and are thus overly deferential to the states.

This Note offers a new approach for “electoral due process” claims—an approach that is properly preservative of voters’ substantive rights and their rights to a fair hearing.