Election Observation Post-2020

34 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2021 Last revised: 1 Jul 2022

Date Written: October 11, 2021


The United States is in the midst of a crisis in confidence in elections, despite the many process protections baked into every stage of election administration. Part of the problem is that few Americans know just how rigorous the protections in place are, and most Americans have no concept of how modern elections are run. Election observation statutes are intended to provide a window for members of the public to learn about and oversee the process and to satisfy themselves that elections are fair and that outcomes are reliable. Yet in 2020, in part due to unforeseen pandemic conditions, election observation fell short. This Essay examines the shortcomings of modern election observation in the United States, looks at reform proposals on the table, and suggests several principles that should inform efforts to address the most worrisome shortfalls.

Keywords: election, voting, transparency, observation, observer, poll watcher, watcher, intimidation, surveillance, livestream, polling place, absentee voting, mail-in voting, public confidence, contextualized transparency, structured transparency, uniformity, misinformation, disinformation, election subversi

Suggested Citation

Green, Rebecca, Election Observation Post-2020 (October 11, 2021). 90 Fordham Law Review 2 (2021), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3940421

Rebecca Green (Contact Author)

William & Mary Law School ( email )

South Henry Street
P.O. Box 8795
Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795
United States
(757) 221-3851 (Phone)

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