Yesterday RNLA President Elliot Berke, myself, and other members of the RNLA Board attended the Peter Schalestock Memorial and Celebration of Life. It was fitting tribute to a great man and leader in the field of election law. In attendance were leading lawyers from the Trump Administration, current and former Federal Election Commissioners, current and former counsels to the key Republican committees, key Congressional Lawyers, and much more. It was a who’s who of the election law bar. All agreed Peter was not only a leader but one of the nicest men.
Today, we will excerpt a bit from some of Peter’s writing. A law review article from 2008 written by Peter Schalestock entitled: Monitoring of Election Processes by Private Actors. Peter wrote:
A large majority of states—forty-five—allow pre-election voter registration challenges, polling place challenges, or both, by private, non-governmental parties. This represents a strong endorsement of private monitoring and enforcement processes by the states. As the use of absentee ballots expands, the number of states allowing challenges to absentee ballots may grow from its current twenty-two to reach a majority as well.
While those numbers have changed (and Peter’s prediction on absentee ballots proved true) his conclusion on the need for an Election Day Operations or poll watching is arguably even truer today:
Private monitoring and enforcement can help identify errors and misconduct in elections, increasing the level of integrity beyond what government resources can provide. It also acknowledges the role of key stakeholders in what is, at its core, an adversarial system.
Of course, this law review article is just a very small part of Peter’s work and career. We, at the RNLA, are honored to count him as a friend and member of our board.