2008 and Beyond Conference: First Report

Report from the preconference dinner at the 2008 and Beyond: The Future of Ethics and Election Reform conference in Columbus OH. Tonight, we all convened at the Marriott and headed out for a pre-conference drink at a wonderful restored pool hall, the “Elevator.” An absolutely beautiful building, this one is not to be missed. There are period tin ceilings, pool tables, and a nice selection of home brews, even for this Portland beer snob. And to top it off, a political scientist not to be named had a nice run at the blackjack tables in Vegas, and bought us all drinks. Thanks MM!

I just read Rick Hasen’s post telling us that he can’t join us in Columbus. He’ll be missed. His fellow blogger Dan Tokaji was one of the dinner speakers, along with organizers Vernon Sykes (Kent State) and Caroline Tolbert (Iowa). Governor Ted Strickland couldn’t attend–and that’s too bad. It would have been nice to hear what the Ohio governor has to say about election administration in his state, given that it’s under such heavy scrutiny.

Dan was uncharacteristically brief, given all the verbiage on his blog, but that’s OK. If Dan would have talked too long, we would have literally eaten him alive! I thought Dan made a number of excellent points, including a pitch for interdisciplinary work (especially between law and political science–or was that just a bone for all the political scientists in the room) as well as a call for working with elections officials.

More to come tomorrow for sure. My presentation is sitting in the hopper–I’m speaking on early voting reforms and turnout, something that was a topic of regular interest among the reporters which I spoke to this Fall.

I said at the time that there was little evidence that early voting reforms are associated with higher levels of turnout, and my results bear this out. More on this tomorrow.