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Voting Rights

Introduction

 

Despite voting being an uncontroverted right from its inception, our Nation’s history has been punctuated by various groups fighting to secure this right. There have been, and continue to be, many hurdles that make voting difficult or impossible for certain segments of the population. Extreme examples include the suspension of voting rights for felons and modern-day instances of voter disenfranchisement.

Voter disenfranchisement today takes on many different forms, such as limitations on mail-in voting, registration restrictions, and voter-ID laws. Proponents of these policies reason that they are necessary to prevent fraud and preserve the sanctity of the voting process. Opponents of these policies argue that claims of widespread voter fraud are unfounded and only serve as pretextual justifications for restrictive voting laws. It should be noted that the recorded incidence of voter fraud/impersonation is very low. Nevertheless, concerns over fraud have prompted many states to pass laws which seek to reform or preserve the voting process.

This section covers the development of these laws and the evolving legal landscape surrounding voting rights. Here you’ll also find resources and basic information about your individual right to vote, as well as information regarding election law and forecasting. More technical aspects of voting, such as redistricting and campaign finance laws, are also covered in this section.

Current Legal Landscape

 

Maps of Voting Laws:

Bill Tracking:

Developments in Case Law:

Moore v. Harper is the latest case on voting rights and elections. Moore v. Harper has to do with the "independent state legislature doctrine." The independent state legislature doctrine theorizes that the Constitution gives state legislatures sole authority to regulate federal elections without oversight from state courts. This theory comes from the Election Clause (Art. 1 Sec. 4). Under this theory, state legislatures would be given the power to determine how elections are conducted—without any checks and balances from state constitutions or courts. The case itself involves a republican-drawn congressional map in North Carolina that was thrown out by the state supreme court for giving republicans an unfair advantage in elections through partisan gerrymandering. Republican lawmakers want the map to be reinstated, arguing that the court’s interference was unconstitutional. One June 30, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case. See below for more information and upcoming dates as the case moves through the Supreme Court.

Further Reading:

Information on Voter Fraud/Impersonation

 

Claims of Voter Fraud in the 2020 Election:

Know Your Voting Rights

 

Knowing your rights as an individual voter is essential for exercising your right to vote. Below are educational resources from various organizations that provide information regarding your individual right to vote:

National Voting Organizations:

Government Information:

Further Reading:

On Elections

 

Elections are the processes by which our representatives are chosen. Below you can find information regarding the electoral process, including forecasting, different organizations involved in the process, and the law surrounding elections.

Election Forecasting and Tracking

Election News

Most major news sources will cover major and midterm elections, and your local news station is the best place for information on local elections. However, below are several sources that maintain specific pages containing the latest election news.

Election Law Organizations:

Election Law Resources:

Further Reading:

Redistricting

 

Redistricting is an important part of American politics. See below for definitions and depictions of redistricting:

What is Redistricting?

What Does Redistricting Look Like?

Further Reading:

Campaign Finance Laws

 

Campaign financing is another important element of the modern American political landscape. Below you will find resources regarding campaign financing including how it works, the laws and regulations that limit it, and what could be done to make it better.

Informational Websites:

Government Oversight:

Further Reading:

Chastek Library, Gonzaga University School of Law | 721 N. Cincinnati St. Spokane, WA 99220-3528 | 509.313.3758

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