December 1 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Election Webinar: Recent Developments in Election Law: The Independent State Legislature Theory, Voter Suppression masquerading as Election Reform, and Efforts to Curb Partisan Gerrymandering
This program will focus on the most recent developments in election law, with emphasis on the Independent State Legislature theory to further restrictions on Section 2 Vote Dilution under the Voting Rights Act and pernicious efforts to suppress minority voting. Given the uncertainty in the law as reflected in the most recent grant of certiorari in the Moore v. Allen case and Brnovich, this program will resonate with local government counsel interested in keeping current in this volatile area of the law.
Speaker: Ben Griffith & Chris Balch
Ben Griffith is the Principal of Griffith Law Firm in Oxford, MS. He earned his Juris Doctor in December 1975 from the University of Mississippi School of Law, where he is now an Adjunct Professor of Election Law. He earned his B.A. from Ole Miss in 1973, majoring in English and German, and attended the University of Salzburg in 1972. For the past 47 years Ben’s practice has focused on federal and state civil litigation, with emphasis on voting rights, election law and civil rights defense.
Service to the bench and bar include:
- ABA Board of Governors (Finance Committee 2016-2019)
- ABA House of Delegates (2009-2019)
- CEELI Council (2019-2023)
- ABA Rule of Law Initiative Board
- ABA Cybersecurity Legal Task Force
- American Law Institute
- International Steering Committee of the International Municipal Lawyers Association (Chair 2010 – 2019), leading IMLA members on missions to Havana, Jerusalem and Berlin
- ABA Section of State & Local Government Law (Chair 2007-2008)ABA Standing Committee on Election Law (Chair 2010-2013)
- Election Law Committee of the ABA Senior Lawyers Division (Co-Chair 2012-present)
- National Association of County Civil Attorneys (President)
- World Jurist Association (National President for US)
- Government Law Section Mississippi Bar (Chair)
- William C. Keady Chapter of American Inns of Court (President 2015-2019)
- American Bar Foundation and the Mississippi Bar Foundation (Sustaining Life Patron)
- Law Alumni Chapter of the University of Mississippi Alumni Association (President).
Among the publications in his field of practice are the four editions of America Votes! Challenges to Modern Election Law and Voting Rights (ABA 1st ed. 2008; e-Supp. 2009, 2nd ed. 2012, 3rd ed. 2016, 4th ed. 2020)(Editor and chapter author), “Voting Rights and Remedies from an International Perspective” contained in International Election Remedies (J. Young, Editor, ABA 2017), “Effective, Timely, Appropriate, and Enforceable Remedies” (co-author), in International Election Principles –Democracy and the Rule of Law (J. Young, Editor, ABA 2009), “The International Community’s Response to Hydraulic Fracturing and a Case for International Oversight” in Beyond the Fracking Wars: A Guide for Lawyers, Public Entities and Citizens (ABA Section of State & Local Government Law, E. Powers and B. Kinne, Editors, 2013); “Continuity of Essential Legal Services in the Wake of Catastrophe: Fair Elections And the Judicial System” (co-author with Jenny Kim), in Homeland Security and Emergency Management (E. Abbot and O. Hetzel, Editors, 2nd ed., ABA 2010), “Preservation of the Right to Vote After Disaster Events” in Homeland Security and Emergency Management (E. Abbott and O. Hetzel, 3rd ed. ABA 2018) and editor of Census 2000 – Considerations for State & Local Governments (ABA 2000) (editor). He also authored The Handbook for County Board Attorneys in Mississippi (MS Center for Governmental Technology, 2000 and 2004).
He has participated as moderator and/or speaker in over 115 continuing legal education programs, conferences and webinars on anticorruption, government transparency, cybersecurity, and electoral access in Berlin, Ukraine (Kiev and Lviv), the Czech Republic, the Republic of Georgia, Spain, Croatia, the United Kingdom (London, Edinburgh, Dublin), and the Peoples Republic of China. Since 1994 he has been board certified in Civil Trial Advocacy by the ABA-accredited National Board of Trial Advocacy.
Chris Balch is the managing member of the Balch Law Group, an Atlanta boutique law firm specializing in representing local governments and their elected and appointed officials. Often called on to decipher, respond, and remedy the most challenging conditions and events, Chris has spent his career advising and defending elected and public officials in the performance of their duties and responsibilities to the public. Chris is both a Fellow of the International Municipal Lawyers Association, which recognizes lawyers who have distinguished themselves by advocacy, training, and experience in representing public officers, and a member of the IMLA Board of Directors. He is regularly called upon to speak around the country on issues confronting public officials. His work has been recognized by Martindale-Hubble with its highest AV rating and as a Georgia Super Lawyer for 2021. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps, Chris has tried over 100 cases to verdict, most in defense of public officials. On Veterans Day 2020, he was recognized for his service to the City of Atlanta by a Proclamation issued by the full City Council.