Rebecca Green, Post Election Transparency
Workshop draft abstract:
This country’s commitment to the secret ballot a notable exception, state and federal statutes direct election administrators to allow broad public oversight of the election process at every stage. This article examines the increasingly controversial topic of transparency after ballots are cast, with particular emphasis on the complexities new forms of voting bring. What level of access should the public be granted to review election outcomes? Are voted ballots public property to which candidates and citizens should be allowed access on demand? Should materials associated with the voting process like provisional and absentee ballot envelopes, lists of voters who vote absentee or provisionally, and poll book records be classified as accessible public records? If not, what principles should constrain public access to election materials after the polls have closed? Should candidate access to post-election materials be treated differently than access for ordinary citizens? This article will demonstrate that current statutory frameworks for post election transparency are lacking, and will suggest alternatives for how state election officials should respond to access requests after Election Day has passed.