A Checklist Manifesto for Election Day: How to Prevent Mistakes at the Polls

46 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2016 Last revised: 18 Aug 2016

See all articles by Joshua A. Douglas

Joshua A. Douglas

University of Kentucky - College of Law

Date Written: April 22, 2015


Mistakes happen – especially at the polls on Election Day. To fix this complex problem inherent in election administration, this Article proposes the use of simple checklists. Errors occur in every election, yet many of them are avoidable. Poll workers should have easy-to-use tools to help them on Election Day as they handle throngs of voters. Checklists can assist poll workers in pausing during a complex process to avoid errors. This is a simple idea with a big payoff: fewer lost votes, shorter lines at the polls, a reduction in post-election litigation, and smoother election administration. Further, unlike many other suggested election reforms, this idea is likely to gain traction and see actual implementation. That is because the idea is “non-legal” in nature, in that it comes from the private sector and is achievable outside of the political process. Given the structural impediments to legislative or judicial change, non-legal solutions such as the use of checklists are the way forward in election reform.

Keywords: election law, voting, right to vote, checklist, election administration

Suggested Citation

Douglas, Joshua, A Checklist Manifesto for Election Day: How to Prevent Mistakes at the Polls (April 22, 2015). Florida State University Law Review, Vol. 43, No. 353, 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2597767 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2597767

Joshua Douglas (Contact Author)

University of Kentucky - College of Law ( email )

620 S. Limestone Street
Lexington, KY 40506-0048
United States

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