In “America Has to Count on More than Prayer in the Case of Close Election,” featured on The Hill, Edward B. Foley explores growing concerns that if the upcoming presidential election this November remains unsettled after the results are in, it inevitably will end up like 2000 or worse. He argues that it doesn’t have to be that way, citing previous elections, in 1884 and 1916, where the race remained unsettled for two weeks but ended well.

“If there are concerns about details of ballot review procedures in certain states, the campaigns should raise them now. The American Law Institute looked at this topic and, with the input of recount lawyers from the major parties, developed a bipartisan set of principles that I worked on to guide reform. For any revision of these state laws over the next few months, the principles provide an important source. The campaigns should otherwise accept existing state laws and be prepared to honor the results.”

Read the full piece here.

Foley cites ALI’s Principles of the Law, Election Administration as a useful tool for addressing these concerns and ensuring fair elections. The principles apply to any type of elective office and are structured to be useful to multiple audiences, including state legislatures, state courts, and state officers such as secretaries of state and local election officials.

For additional information or to request a full copy of Principles of the Law, Election Administration, please email

Edward B. Foley

Reporter, Principles of the Law, Election Administration

Edward Foley (known as “Ned”) directs Election Law @ Moritz at Ohio State University, Moritz College of Law, where he also holds the Ebersold Chair in Constitutional Law. His book, Presidential Elections and Majority Rule (Oxford University Press, 2020), excavates the long-forgotten philosophical premises of how the Electoral College is supposed to work. His 2016 book, Ballot Battles: The History of Disputed Elections in the United States, was named Finalist for the David J. Langum, Sr. Prize in American Legal History and listed as one of 100 “must-read books about law and social justice.” While Foley has special expertise on the topics of recounts and provisional ballots, he has also co-authored the casebook, Election Law and Litigation: The Judicial Regulation of Politics (Aspen 2014), which covers all aspects of election law.

Lauren Klosinski

ALI Staff


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