Where Are The Rules?

Where Are The Rules?

Granderson: The ‘election police’ don’t need to be right to be effective

Friday, July 13, 2012

We live in a time of rapid change for the majority of Americans. Whether they are thinking about their future and what kind of job they need, or debating how hard they need to work, we are constantly being bombarded with new ideas and new information. With this plethora of information comes opportunities for fraud, misleading and even outright lies. That said, we do live in a time of rapid change, and the government has been one of the top culprits in this fraud. One of the most prominent figures in the corruption of our elections has been George W. Bush, who is often referred to as the “election Nazi” for his efforts to steal the election of 2000.

In many ways the United States is simply moving to a more representative democracy, which is to say that we’re moving even further in a direction of “big government.” In a representative democracy, voters elect representatives. The elected representatives then hold their constituents’ opinions to account as they enact policies that benefit their constituents as well as the broader populace.

When I teach election law in law schools, I tell my students that the most important question to ask an election administrator is not “Where the rules are,” but “Where they should be.” For example, does the administrator follow the rules? Or is the administrator simply making up rules to suit his own political agenda?

The answer to the question “Where are the rules?” should always be “Where they should be.” And, as I mentioned earlier, we’ve come a long way from when election administration first arose with the birth of the Electoral College in 1789. That’s because the concept of a “republican form of government” is actually just a label, a way of thinking. It doesn’t really mean anything. As a result, when we ask the question “Where are the rules?” we don’t need an answer to get an answer.

This brings us back to the question “Where are the rules?” We could ask “Where should they be?

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