Election and Political Law
Election and Political Law relate to every aspect of the electoral and political process, including the right to vote, campaign financing, and presidential election laws. This body of law is regulated by both state and federal statutes and regulations, as well as constitutional protections such as the right to vote.
One of the biggest areas of interest to election and political law in the last decade has been with regard to campaign finance. Complicated regulatory schemes have been set in place to prevent certain interests for exerting undue influence over a candidate through campaign contributions. These laws also help to prevent certain types of money laundering and other illegal activities disguised as political action funding.
Another hot topic since the famous legal and political dispute of the 2000 Gore v. Bush presidential campaign have been election laws. Each state has its own regulatory mechanism for conducting elections, validating ballots, and ensuring that those who wish to vote are given the rights promised to them under the Constitution. Unfortunately, with each state utilizing a separate set of rules, disputes as occurred after the 2000 presidential election (and several that followed) are sure to occur. Thus, this has become a surprisingly robust area of the law over the last few years, with numerous safeguards and other measures put in place to protect against similar questions of election results, sometimes with mixed results.
The resources below will provide you with additional information about election and political laws. Additionally, you can find an attorney in your area who specializes in these areas of the law by visiting our “Law Firms” page.
Elections and Politics Law - US
- Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA)
On March 27, 2002, President Bush signed into law the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), Public Law No. 107-155. The BCRA contains many substantial and technical changes to the federal campaign finance law.
- Elections in the United States - Overview
The United States has a federal government, with elected officials at the federal (national), 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 vote of their state. All members of the federal legislature, the Congress, are directly elected. There are many elected offices at the state level, each state having at least an elective governor and legislature. There are also elected offices at the local level, in counties and cities. It is estimated that across the whole country, over one million offices are filled in every electoral cycle.
- Federal Election Campaign Act - Library of Congress
The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (FECA, Pub.L. 92-225, 86 Stat. 3, enacted February 7, 1972, 2 U.S.C. § 431 et seq.) is a United States federal law which increased disclosure of contributions for federal campaigns, and amended in 1974 to place legal limits on the campaign contributions. The amendment also created the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
- Federal Election Commission (FEC)
In 1975, Congress created the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to administer and enforce the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) - the statute that governs the financing of federal elections. The duties of the FEC, which is an independent regulatory agency, are to disclose campaign finance information, to enforce the provisions of the law such as the limits and prohibitions on contributions, and to oversee the public funding of Presidential elections.
- Political Parties in the United States
When America's founders wrote the U.S. Constitution in 1787, they did not envision political parties playing a role in the government. Rather, they expected constitutional provisions such as separation of powers, checks and balances, federalism and indirect election of the president by an electoral college would deter the formation of parties. Despite these provisions, the United States in 1800 became the first nation to develop political parties organized on a national level and to transfer executive power from one party to another via an election. By the 1830s, political parties were an established part of the U.S. political environment.
- Politics of the United States - Overview
The United States is a presidential, federal republic, in which the President of the United States (the head of state and head of government), Congress, and judiciary share powers reserved to the national government, and the federal government shares sovereignty with the state governments. Federal and state elections generally take place within a two-party system, although this is not enshrined in law.
- US Department of Justice - Federal Voting Rights Laws
The Voting Rights Act, adopted initially in 1965 and extended in 1970, 1975, and 1982, is generally considered the most successful piece of civil rights legislation ever adopted by the United States Congress. The Act codifies and effectuates the 15th Amendment's permanent guarantee that, throughout the nation, no person shall be denied the right to vote on account of race or color. In addition, the Act contains several special provisions that impose even more stringent requirements in certain jurisdictions throughout the country.
- US Electoral College - Presidential Election Laws
This information has been compiled and published in pamphlet form by the Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration, for use by the Executives and Electors of the several States in the performance of their duties in connection with Presidential Elections.
- Voting and Elections
Official information and services from the U.S. government.
Organizations Related to Elections and Politics Law
- Campaign Legal Center
The United States Congress enacts legislation regulating political spending, political advertising, and other campaign finance and media- related activities. The Legal Center analyzes pending legislation and seeks to educate the press and general public as to its potential effect.
- Election Defense Alliance (EDA)
"Election Defense Alliance (EDA) is a participatory organization of citizens collaborating at the local, state, and national levels to establish transparent vote counting, defend against electoral theft, and ensure that governments accountable to the people are legitimately elected."
- National Association of State Election Directors (NASED)
NASED was formed in 1989 when a group of state election directors and administrators met in Reno, Nevada. The driving issue at that time that spurred the group to organize was the concern that national networks were releasing presidential election results before all polls had closed. The recently enacted Help America Vote Act has increased the importance for communication and coordination among state election directors. Though the issues have changed somewhat over the years, the purpose of NASED has remained the same—to serve as an exchange of best practices and ideas.
Publications Related to Elections and Politics Law
- Election Law Blog
Deals with the law of politics and the politics of law: election law, campaign finance, legislation, voting rights, initiatives, redistricting, and the Supreme Court nomination process.
- Express Advocacy - A Political Law Blog
Welcome to Express Advocacy. This site is dedicated to a discussion of political law topics, including federal campaign finance, election administration, recounts and contests, federal lobbying, and congressional and executive branch ethics issues.
- Handbook of United States Election Laws and Practices: Political Rights
The U.S. Constitution guarantees fundamental civil rights for persons within the United States. Some civil rights are freedom of religion, speech, press, and assembly; protection against unreasonable searches and seizures and against excessive fines and punishments; the right to trial by jury; and protection against double jeopardy. State constitutions contain similar guarantees. Over the years, the Supreme Court has recognized fundamental rights not specifically noted in the Constitution. For example, the Court recognized freedom of association as part of the "liberty" protected by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and by the First Amendment. Congress and state legislatures have also enacted many civil rights laws.
Articles on HG.org Related to Elections and Politics Law
- Judge Rejects Texas Voting Law ChangesA federal court judge has shot down changes to Texas voting laws for the second time. This same judge who first ruled against the law in 2014, found that the changes made earlier in the year are insufficient and carry “chilling” consequences.
- Judges: Appointed v. ElectedWe are taught from a young age that the best form of government is one that we the people elect. Is electing judges the best way?
- What Does the Constitution say about the Prolonged Absence of the President?Some situations arise where the prolonged absence of the president of a country may lead to difficulties in a vice president or other official in being sworn in for office.
- Could 2017 Be the Year of Larger NAFTA Payloads?For Texans, the effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are not only visible in an invigorated economy but also in the physical dynamic of increased commercial traffic.
- The Coastal Land Legacy Initiative in TexasThe Texas Agricultural Land Trust has a new program to conserve Texas agricultural working lands, The Coastal Land Legacy Initiative.
- It's Time to Prepare for the Legislative Off-SeasonIt's nearly half-way through the 2016 legislative interim and we’re right around the corner from the 2017 legislative session. For many, this is the perfect time to lay the groundwork for the next legislative session. What can you do to prepare for the next session? With the help of an experienced Texas lobbyist you can begin to prepare your legislation for next session, start a grassroots or media campaign for public support and find the right legislator to sponsor your bill.
- How Do I Run for Office?Every year, thousands of citizens in the United States decide that they would like to make a change in the way the country runs. To do this, they opt to run for office. Whether a local position or a national office, running for election can be complicated. What do you need to know in order to get your campaign started?
- Native American Woman Nominated to Federal BenchOn September 19, President Barack Obama announced that Diane J. Humetewa was a nominee for the US District Court for Arizona. The nomination was made in response to widespread requests for representation on the federal bench of Native American interests.
- Lessons on International and Constitutional Law Found in Current Syria DebateWhether you believe the current administration's handling of the dispute in Syria has been well handled or not, and whether you are for or against intervention, the back and forth process provides interesting insights into the processes of both international and constitutional law.
- The Supreme Court’s Decision in Susan B Anthony List v Driehaus -a Victory for Civil Rights PlaintiffsSay that you need a permit to pursue your chosen occupation, but you believe that the costly administrative procedure to acquire said permit is unconstitutional. You have been ticketed for operating without a permit, and have every reason to believe that you will be ticketed again, but you have yet to be arrested and thrown in jail. Can you bring a suit alleging the law to be unconstitutional, or do you first have to be arrested or submit to the costly permit procedure before you can sue?
- All Government Law Articles
Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Government including: administrative law, case law, election and political law, federal law, government contracts, local, municipal and state law, military law, public law, regulatory law, US federal courts.