About The Project

The Election Law Program, a joint venture of William & Mary Law School and the National Center for State Courts, formulated the eBenchbook project to address the surge in election litigation and lack of available resources to assist judges in understanding arcane election statutes. Through generous funding from the Democracy Fund and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, we have created three state-specific election law eBenchbooks intended to provide comprehensive, freely-accessible, nonpartisan online resources for judges, legal professionals, journalists, and members of the public seeking to better grasp the intersection of law and elections.

Each eBenchbook contains the complete state election code along with explanatory annotations contributed by attorneys, state election administrators, and academics working in the election field. Under the supervision of the eBenchbook staff and with direction from our in-state expert committees, William & Mary Law School students have added relevant case law, regulations, administrative guidance, and other materials related to election codes and their operation.

Initially, the site offers eBenchbooks for three states: Colorado, Florida, and Virginia. The Election Law Program’s ultimate aim, with collaboration from interested state participants, is to provide an eBenchbook for every state. If you are interested in adding your state to this resource, please email us at ebenchbook@wm.edu.

Whether you are a judge, legal professional, or a citizen who wants to know more about the law of elections, we hope that this site will give you a clearer understanding of how election laws help to shape the contours of our democracy.

“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt

Committee Members

The following individuals comprised our committees of state election experts, and are responsible for authorship of the statutory annotations available in highlighted text on the statutes. We selected committee members to participate in the project based on their superior knowledge of state election law and exemplary reputations as attorneys, academics, and administrators in the election field. In addition to contributing annotations to the site, they provided valuable guidance on the project’s coverage and development. We are very grateful for their participation and enthusiasm for this project.


colorado Committee Members

Bill Hobbs

Former Dep. Secretary of State

Bill Hobbs

Former Dep. Secretary of State

Bill Hobbs served as Deputy Secretary of State in Colorado for 13 years prior to his retirement in 2012. During his time with the Secretary of State’s Office, Mr. Hobbs was involved in the Office’s elections administration efforts and served as Chairperson of the State Initiative Title Setting Board.

Judd Choate

Director of Elections

Judd Choate

Director of Elections

Judd Choate is director of the Elections Division for Colorado’s Department of State. Prior to joining the Elections Division, he practiced election law for Kelly Garnsey Hubbell & Lass in Denver. Before law school, Dr. Choate was a professor of political science at the University of Nebraska, where he taught courses on campaigns and elections.

Martha Tierney

Attorney

Martha Tierney

Attorney

Martha Tierney leads the Government and Public Policy Practice Team at Tierney Lawrence LLC. In her practice, she focuses on election law, campaign finance, and government relations. Ms. Tierney previously participated in the William & Mary Election Law Program's Election War Games project.

Ryan Call

Attorney

Ryan Call

Attorney

Ryan Call is Of Counsel with HaleWestfall LLP in Denver. His practice areas include campaign finance, government affairs, and lobbying and ethics rules compliance. Mr. Call previously served served two terms as State Chairman of the Colorado Republican Party.

florida Committee Members

Richard Coates

Attorney

Richard Coates

Attorney

Richard Coates is an AV rated attorney and manager of Coates Law Firm, PL.  He was named to Florida Trend’s Legal Elite in 2010 and 2011.  For the last 20 years, Mr. Coates has limited his practice to representing candidates, political entities and public servants. He has represented numerous local, state, statewide, and Federal elected public servants, including House Speakers, Senate Presidents, members of the cabinet and governor.  From 2011 to 2014, Coates served as General Counsel to Republican Party of Florida.

Ronald Meyer

Attorney

Ronald Meyer

Attorney

Ron Meyer is a founding partner of Meyer, Brooks, Demma, and Blohm, P.A., in Tallahassee. He devotes much of his practice to representing candidates and political organizations, and has appeared before the Florida Elections Commission, the Florida Commission on Ethics, and the Federal Election Commission. Mr. Meyer is a member of the ABA’s Election Law Committee.

Sarah Jane Bradshaw

Former Asst Director, Division of Elections

Sarah Jane Bradshaw

Former Asst Director, Division of Elections

Sarah Jane Bradshaw is former assistant director of Florida’s Division of Elections. Prior to her time at the Division of Elections, she worked as legislative staff for the Florida legislature for over twenty years, primarily assisting the Elections Committee.

Terri Fine

Professor, University of Central Florida

Terri Fine

Professor, University of Central Florida

Terri Fine is a professor of Political Science at the University of Central Florida. Professor Fine also serves as Associate Director and Senior Fellow at UCF’s Lou Frey Institute of Government and Politics. Her academic focus includes political participation, and public opinion and voting behavior.

virginia Committee Members

Christopher Nolen

Attorney

Christopher Nolen

Attorney

Christopher R. Nolen is a Partner with McGuireWoods LLP in Richmond, and senior vice-president of McGuireWoods Consulting’s State Government Relations Group. Mr. Nolen is co-author of five annual surveys of Virginia election law, which were published by the University of Richmond Law Review.

Henry Chambers

Professor, University of Richmond Law School

Henry Chambers

Professor, University of Richmond Law School

Henry Chambers is a law professor at the University of Richmond School of Law, where he teaches constitutional law, among other subjects. In 2015, the Association of American Law Schools Section on Election Law selected Professor Chambers’s “Local Officials and Voter ID” as winner of its Call for Papers competition. His paper details implementation of Virginia’s voter ID law.

Jack Young

Attorney

Jack Young

Attorney

A Virginia native, Jack Young is Counsel with Sandler Reiff Lamb Rosenstein & Birkenstock, P.C., and he has handled election litigation at both the federal and state levels. He currently serves as the chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Election Law. Mr. Young is an Adjunct Professor at William & Mary Law School, where he teaches international and comparative election law.

Martha Brissette

Policy Analyst, Virginia Department of Elections

Martha Brissette

Policy Analyst, Virginia Department of Elections

Martha Brissette was a Policy Analyst with the Virginia Department of Elections. Before joining the Department of Elections, she worked as a staff attorney for the Virginia Division of Legislative Services and as an Assistant Attorney General for the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia. Mrs. Brissette passed away suddenly during development of the eBenchbook site, but she left an indelible mark on the project through the numerous and insightful contributions she made while involved. The eBenchbook site’s Virginia portal is dedicated to her memory.

Election Law Program

Rebecca Green

Co-Director

Rebecca Green

Co-Director

Professor Green is Professor of Practice and Co-Director of the Election Law Program. In that role, she oversees its annual symposia and speaker series and undertakes a series of projects designed to educate judges about election law topics. In addition to the eBenchbook project, she formulated Election War Games at state judicial conferences in Virginia, Colorado, and Wisconsin, and has supervised students on a variety of projects such as drafting an ABA report on 2012 election delays and Revive My Vote. Professor Green also serves as the faculty advisor to the student-run State of Elections blog.

Amy McDowell

Amy McDowell

Co-Director

Amy McDowell

Amy McDowell

Co-Director

Amy McDowell is an Education Program Manager with the Institute for Court Management at the National Center for State Courts and Co-Director of William & Mary’s Election Law Program. At the National Center for State Courts, she is responsible for managing and coordinating the ICM Fellows Program and annual Fellows Leadership seminars.  She serves as faculty for ICM’s national, licensee, partnership and distance learning courses and provides subject matter expertise for curriculum and faculty development. She is a former editor of Judicial Education and Training (the journal of the International Organization for Judicial Training) and Future Trends in State Courts.

Austin Graham

Project Manager

Austin Graham

Project Manager

A 2015 graduate of William & Mary Law School, Austin Graham is the eBenchbook project manager. Following his 2L year, Austin interned for the National Conference of State Legislatures, where he researched campaign finance issues. He also served as an extern for Caplin & Drysdale’s political law group and the Virginia Department of Elections during his 3L year. His student note, Unstable Footing: Shelby County’s Misapplication of the Equal Footing Doctrine, was selected for publication by editors of the William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal.

Will Cooke

Student Researcher

Will Cooke

Student Researcher

Will is a rising 3L at William & Mary Law School and the primary student researcher for Colorado’s eBenchbook. Will served as co-president of William & Mary’s Election Law Society during his 2L year, and he is interning for the Federal Trade Commission this summer.

Carrie Mattingly

Student Researcher

Carrie Mattingly

Student Researcher

Carrie is a rising 3L at William & Mary Law School, and the lead student researcher for Virginia’s eBenchbook. Carrie is a William & Mary Election Law Fellow, a member of the William & Mary Law Review, and worked as an extern for the Virginia Department of Elections during her 2L year. This summer, she’s working as a summer associate at Frost Brown Todd LLC in Louisville, Kentucky.

Emily Wagman

Student Researcher

Emily Wagman

Student Researcher

Emily is a rising 3L at William & Mary Law School, and the primary student researcher for Florida’s eBenchbook. Emily is an Election Law Fellow at William & Mary, a member of the William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal, and last summer worked for OneVirginia2021, a redistricting reform organization. This summer, she is working as a summer associate for Langrock Sperry & Wool, LLP.

Acknowledgements

In addition to our funders and state committee members, we would like to extend our gratitude to the following people and organizations for their assistance in the development of the eBenchbook project: Seamus Kraft and the OpenGov Foundation; Waldo Jacquith and the State Decoded project; Sam Klein and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University; Adam Ziegler at the Harvard Law School Library; Nik Reed and his team at Ravel Law; Chris Hull and the team at Helium Studio; the Colorado General Assembly’s Office of Legislative Legal Services; the members of the Election Law Program Advisory Board, Dean Davison Douglas, Assistant Dean Laura Heymann, and Terri Lorincz at William & Mary Law School.

Finally, we would like to thank the following William & Mary law students who, in addition to the three primary student researchers listed above, devoted countless hours to making this resource a reality: Lisa Zhang, J.D. Candidate Class of 2017; Austin Sargent, J.D. Candidate Class of 2017; Alyssa Riggins, J.D. Candidate Class of 2017; Sarah Wiley, J.D. Candidate Class of 2017.