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Wisconsin Law Review

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election administrators, election reform, election law


Election Law | Law


This Essay argues that election administrators should be subject to a professional licensing regime, much like licensing in medicine and law. Making election administration a licensed profession would not only expand requirements for training, but also enhance the professional identification of these officials, reinforcing norms of integrity and impartiality. By raising barriers to entry, licensing would make it more costly for partisans to obtain these offices. Licensing could also improve public confidence in the professionalism of election administration. Such a reform meets our moment. While many states have increased training requirements for election administrators, significant gaps remain. Moreover, existing reforms to election administration--ranging from creating nonpartisan structures to disclosing more information to shame outliers--have either stalled or been too indirect to confront the rising partisan challenges election administrators face. The Essay concludes with a case study illustrating how such a licensing regime could be implemented in Michigan.

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