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LexisNexis Voting Center Wins National Justice Technology Award at Legalweek

April 26, 2023 (3 min read)

THE LEXISNEXIS U.S. VOTING LAWS AND LEGISLATION CENTER was honored with the Justice Technology Award at the 2023 Legalweek Leader in Tech Law Awards in New York City on March 20. The Tech Law Awards, given at the annual Legalweek expo sponsored by American Law Media and, celebrate the achievements of law firms, legal departments and vendors leading the legal profession into the future through technology and innovation.

Launched in August 2022 by the LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation, the Center provides free public access to a comprehensive collection of unbiased, nonpartisan, data-driven information, including more than 40,000 state and federal voting laws, related legislative developments, and news.

The Center was created by a LexisNexis team of more than 50 employee volunteers in collaboration with various organizations, including the Uniform Law Commission and the National Conference of State Legislators. A 50 State Voting Laws Comparison feature and updates on voting laws and litigation from the Law360 news service provide continuous updates.

Users can search the legislation site by various keywords, including bill name and sponsor, and filter results by proposed legislation, recently enacted laws, and failed legislation. State voting laws can be compared using topics such as mail-in voting, military voting, and absentee and electronic voting. A separate tracker provides information on the more than 190 federal voting law proposals currently pending in Congress.

A recent presentation to the North Carolina Bar Association showed how the data contained in the Center could be used to highlight the impact of the judicial selection methods used in the various states on individuals’ perceptions of the local judiciary. Data derived from the Center showed that the majority of states use elections in varying degrees during of the judicial selection process. In 16 states, judges are appointed by the governor and reselected in retention elections; in 14 states, judges are chosen in contested nonpartisan elections, while in eight states, contested partisan elections are used. Governors appoint judges in 10 states; the state legislature makes the appointments in the remaining two states.

While data shows that individuals may have less confidence in the courts in states where judicial elections are partisan, the legislative tracker contained on the Center shows that many proposals to change the judicial selection process have failed. Some examples:

  • Alaska: H.B. 339 Would have required court of appeals judges and district judges to be approved or rejected by a majority of the legislature two years after the judge’s appointment and then again, every two years. Required governor’s judicial nominees to be confirmed by majority of legislature.
  • Idaho: H. 600, S.1382, and H 782: Three bills introduced that would give the state’s governor more control over the seven-member judicial council, which vets and recommends nominees to the governor for vacancies on the state’s trial and appellate courts, by either adding more members to the council or requiring additional governor approvals.
  • Missouri: Proposed constitutional amendment (S.J.R. 30) would have removed all state bar–appointed members on the state’s nominating commissions, replacing them with nonlawyer members appointed by the governor.
  • Maryland: H.B. 306 was intended to replace the state’s judicial nominating commission for circuit court judges with nonpartisan elections.
  • Oklahoma: Proposed constitutional amendment S.J.R. 28 would have abolished the state’s judicial nominating commission, thereby allowing the governor to directly appoint state supreme court justices and court of criminal appeal judges, subject to confirmation by the state senate.

The LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation defines the rule of law as containing four main components: transparency of law, equality for all under the law, an independent judiciary, and access to legal remedy. In addition to the Center, the Foundation’s projects include the LexisNexis Rule of Law Impact Tracker, which tracks public sentiment on the rule of law in 170 countries, and the eyeWitness to Atrocities app, which allows users to document evidence of war crimes using their smartphones.