Book Talk with Edward Foley, Author of Ballot Battles: The History of Disputed Elections in the United States


Thursday, October 20, 2016, 4:10pm to 5:30pm


Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Suite 200N, 124 Mt Auburn Street, Cambridge

Missed the event? Hear an audio recording on the AshCast!

Read an event recap in the Harvard Crimson:
Law Professor Recounts U.S. Disputed Elections

Read Professor Foley in Politico Magazine:
What Happens if Trump Keeps Us ‘in Suspense’ on Election Night?

The Ash Center cordially invites you to a book talk with Edward B. Foley, the Charles W. Ebersold and Florence Whitcomb Ebersold Chair in Law and Director of Election Law at The Ohio State University College of Law and author of Ballot Battles: The History of Disputed Elections in the United States.  This talk will be moderated by Alex Keyssar, the Matthew W. Stirling, Jr., Professor of History and Social Policy at HKS. 

Ballot Battles by Edward FoleyIn Ballot Battles, Edward Foley presents a sweeping history of election controversies in the United States, tracing how their evolution generated legal precedents that ultimately transformed how we determine who wins and who loses. While weaving a narrative spanning over two centuries, Foley repeatedly returns to an originating event: because the Founding Fathers despised parties and never envisioned the emergence of a party system, they wrote a constitution that did not provide clear solutions for high-stakes and highly-contested elections in which two parties could pool resources against one another. Moreover, in the American political system that actually developed, politicians are beholden to the parties which they represent - and elected officials have typically had an outsized say in determining the outcomes of extremely close elections that involve recounts. This underlying structural problem, more than anything else, explains why intense ballot battles that leave one side feeling aggrieved will continue to occur for the foreseeable future.