Accuracy Counts: Illegal Votes in Contested Elections and the Case for Complete Proportionate Deduction

36 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2013

See all articles by Kevin J. Hickey

Kevin J. Hickey

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: March 18, 2008

Abstract

Contested elections in which the number of illegal votes exceeds the purported winner’s margin of victory present courts with difficult choices. Simply certifying the result risks denying the true winner his victory, while ordering a new election leaves the choice to a changed electorate. Adjusting the results is also problematic, as it may create a perception that judges, and not voters, have decided the election. This Note argues that courts should be more willing to use statistical techniques to resolve this type of election dispute. It critiques the various remedial measures that courts have employed, as well as the rejection of statistical methods in existing case law and legal commentary. The author concludes that a statistics-based remedy — termed “complete proportionate deduction” — best balances the values of accuracy, finality, and public faith in the democratic process.

Keywords: election law, law and statistics, quantitative analysis of law

Suggested Citation

Hickey, Kevin J., Accuracy Counts: Illegal Votes in Contested Elections and the Case for Complete Proportionate Deduction (March 18, 2008). New York University Law Review, Vol. 83, No. 1, 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2295680

Kevin J. Hickey (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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