Below is the abstract for “Requiring Majority Winners for Congressional Elections: Harnessing Federalism to Combat Extremism,” available for download on SSRN.

Congress should enact a law requiring a candidate for a seat in Congress to receive a majority of votes in order to win the election. Congress should let states determine what particular procedure to use to determine whether a candidate wins a majority, as there are significantly different methods of identifying a majority winner. While this simple piece of legislation might seem inconsequential—many Americans assume, erroneously, that elections already require majority winners—it in fact would cause states to undertake a form of experimentation in the details of electoral system design that would have the effect of counteracting the threat that anti-democracy extremism currently poses in America.


Suggestion citation: Foley, Edward B., Requiring Majority Winners for Congressional Elections: Harnessing Federalism to Combat Extremism (May 10, 2021). Ohio State Legal Studies Research Paper No. 616, Lewis & Clark Law Review, Vol. 26, No. 2, 2022, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3843029 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3843029.

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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.

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