Former FEC Chairman to Keynote Election Law Conference

Posted February 18, 2008


Scott Thomas, former U.S.
Federal Election Commission
(FEC) chairman and
commissioner, will deliver
the keynote address
at the symposium.

Scott Thomas, former U.S. Federal Election Commission (FEC) chairman and commissioner, will deliver the keynote address at a symposium on election law on Saturday, Feb. 23 at the Law School. The event, “The Way We Choose: A Symposium on the Future of American Election Law,” is a triennial conference sponsored by the Journal of Law and Politics. Law firm Caplin & Drysdale is co-sponsoring the event, which will be held in Caplin Pavilion.

The symposium features presentations by some of the field’s most prominent scholars and activists on topics including race and the future of the Voting Rights Act, campaign finance, and the Carter-Baker Commission recommendations. During his keynote address, scheduled for 12:30 in Caplin Pavilion, Thomas will discuss the world of regulating campaign finance by highlighting historical milestones, loophole creation, legislative drafting, FEC decisions, and Supreme Court analyses. 

Events will also include a panel on voter fraud and administrative reform, featuring Doug Chapin of The Pew Charitable Trusts’; Craig Donsanto of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Election Crimes Branch, Ed Foley of the Moritz School of Law at Ohio State University, Curtis Gans of the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate, and Jonah Goldman of the National Campaign for Fair Elections.

The symposium is free and open to the public and will include a light breakfast and lunch. For more information, please contact Jessica Chilson at An application for approval is pending with the Virginia Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Board.

The student-run Journal of Law and Politics was established in 1982 under the guidance of then-Circuit Judge Antonin Scalia. It is the first and only nonpartisan publication devoted exclusively to examining the interaction between law and politics.

8:30-9:00 am Check-in and Breakfast
9:00-9:10 am Welcome Remarks 
Justin Torres, editor in chief, Journal of Law and Politics

9:10-9:40 am 

The Future of the Voting Rights Act
Nathaniel Persily, professor of law, Columbia University
9:40-10:15 am Race and the Voting Rights Act: U.S. v. Brown 
Christopher Coates, acting chief, Voting Rights Section, U.S. Department of Justice

10:15-10:30 am


10:30 am-12:00 pm Voter Fraud and Administrative Reform Panel
Panelists: Doug Chapin, director,; Ed Foley, Robert M. Duncan/Jones Day Designated Professor of Law, Moritz School of Law, Ohio State University; Curtis Gans, founding director, Committee for the Study of the American Electorate; Craig Donsanto, director, Election Crimes Branch, U.S. Department of Justice; Jonah Goldman, director, National Campaign for Fair Elections
12:00-12:45 pm Lunch
12:45-1:15 pm Regulating Campaign Finance 
Scott Thomas, former chairman and commissioner of the Federal Election Commission
1:15-1:30 pm Break
1:30-2:15 pm Dysfunctional Decentralization and Election Management: Remedies in Theory and Practice 
Panelists: George Guess, co-director, Center for Democracy and Election Management, American University; Alison Prevost, project manager, Center for Democracy and Election Management, American University
2:15-2:30 pm Closing and Thank You


Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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