Right Without a Remedy? The ‘Butterfly Ballot’ Case and Court-Ordered Federal Election ‘Revotes’
37 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 2011
Date Written: August 10, 2011
The article examines a question raised by the “butterfly ballot” regarding the allegedly misleading ballot used in Palm Beach County, Florida during the 2000 presidential election controversy: can a court ever order a “revote,” in whole or in part, of a presidential election? After providing the factual and legal background of the case, the article examines statutory and case law authority to rebut the conventional wisdom that federal law establishing a uniform date for the presidential election bars any court-ordered revote. It also responds to arguments that a revote of the presidential election in Palm Beach County (or anywhere) would be unworkable and unfair, specifically addressing the special problems caused by “partial” revotes. By analogy, it concludes that as court-filed election challenges become more common, courts should consider seriously the advantages of “revote” remedies.
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