Ensuring that elections are free and fair is far from a settled matter in the United States, with courts frequently asked to settle disputes about virtually every element of election administration. In 2020, President Trump and his supporters contend that vote by mail is rife with fraud (in an election cycle where COVID will help drive demand for mail balloting to record levels) and that an election loss would constitute evidence of a rigged election. The vacancy following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg further heightens the tension around the role of the court in the election. Trump’s opponents are casting the election and access to the polls as a struggle for voting rights and democracy itself. Interest groups allied with both sides of politics are launching or preparing for post-election litigation in multiple jurisdictions.

What issues are being litigated, by whom, and where? How are these legal challenges being funded? What constitutional and legal arguments are being deployed? What likely role for the US Supreme Court, and what might be the likely outcome? And for the eventual winner, will their victory and governing authority be accepted as legitimate by the American people and the world?

To discuss these issues, USSC hosted a webinar event featuring Ruth Greenwood, Co-Director of the Voting Rights and Redistricting Program at the Campaign Legal Center in conversation with United States Studies Centre CEO Professor Simon Jackman. 

Ruth Greenwood is the Co-Director of the Voting Rights and Redistricting Program at the Campaign Legal Center (CLC), one of the most active and successful non-partisan groups using the law to ensure that  elections are free and fair. Ruth was born and raised in Sydney, graduating with degrees in Law and in Science from the University of Sydney and a Masters of Law from Columbia University. Ruth litigated two partisan gerrymandering cases from trial to the US Supreme Court and is deeply engaged in CLC’s many projects in the current 2020 election cycle. Ruth is a lecturer at Harvard Law School.

Professor Simon Jackman commenced as Chief Executive Officer of the United States Studies Centre in April 2016. Jackman’s research has appeared in the leading journals of political science, in a publishing career spanning thirty years. Between 1996 and 2016, he was a Professor of Political Science and Statistics at Stanford University. Jackman served as one of the Principal Investigators of the American National Election Studies, the world’s longest running and most authoritative survey of political behaviour and attitudes, directing this project over both the 2012 and 2016 presidential election cycles. Jackman was an expert witness at trial in the two partisan gerrymandering cases litigated by Greenwood.