Election Law and Administration

  • June 12, 2018

    by Justin Levitt, Associate Dean for Research and Professor of Law, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles*

    Yesterday, the Supreme Court decided that states can kick voters off the rolls without any reliable evidence that the voters in question might be ineligible. That’s a disappointing result, and the culmination of a series of disappointments along the way. But there is one significant reason for optimism among the gloom: unlike many other Court pronouncements, on voting rights and otherwise, most voters can fight back against the impact of this decision directly.

    First, it’s disappointing that we’re having this discussion at all. The Ohio process at issue in the case assumed that voters who hadn’t voted in two years had probably moved, sent them all a postcard, and if that single piece of mail wasn’t returned and the voter didn’t vote for four more years, the voter was removed from the rolls. 

  • May 30, 2018

    by Mimi Marziani, President, Texas Civil Rights Project and Robert Landicho, Associate, Vinson & Elkins LLP

    In the last two years, millions of everyday Americans—totaling 20% of all adults—have taken to the streets, the airports, the courthouses, state capitals, and other public places to make their voices heard. More have spoken out online. And, activism has not been confined to urban centers—in Alpine Texas, for example, a small town with a population just shy of 6,000 people, nearly 100 protestors hiked across the desert (in a rare rainstorm no less!) during the 2017 Women’s March.

    History doesn’t repeat itself but it often rhymes.” Throughout American history, state and federal governments have all too often met periods of social and political activism with backlash—restricting our First Amendment rights of expression, association, and petition. And indeed, there is evidence of growing hostility towards protesting, community organizing, efforts to turn out the vote, and other protected forms of civic engagement today.

  • April 27, 2018

    by Melissa Wasser, Law Fellow, ACS

    On January 10, 2018, I sat in the gallery of the Supreme Court of the United States listening to oral argument in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute. The question presented was whether the state of Ohio’s practice of updating its voter rolls by purging people who fail to vote in consecutive elections violates the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 and the Help America Vote Act of 2002. As an Ohioan, I was very interested in the case. I was born and raised in Northeast Ohio, attended law school at The Ohio State University, and have voted in every single primary, special, and general election since I turned 18.

    During oral argument, I heard many stories of people being aggressively purged for failing to vote and failing to respond to a confirmation notice. I even saw Oak Harbor’s mayor, Joe Helle, confront Secretary of State Jon Husted outside the Court, demanding to know why he, an Army veteran, had been purged from the rolls upon returning from service overseas. Before this case, I disagreed with Ohio’s process in removing voters from the rolls but believed that voting and staying engaged would safely keep people registered. Imagine my surprise a month later when, despite my continuous voting over the past eight years, the state of Ohio sent me a confirmation notice.

  • April 25, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Barbara McQuade, Professor from Practice, University of Michigan Law School, and former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan

    The Democratic National Committee filed a federal complaint yesterday alleging that Russia, WikiLeaks and the Trump campaign conspired to damage the Democratic Party and help elect Donald Trump. This is a significant case, which seeks to vindicate the interests of the American people in open and uncorrupted elections and to redress damage to the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Party that undermined their ability to communicate their policy positions to the American electorate and their efforts to support the Democratic nominees for President and for other elected offices. But most importantly, the lawsuit lays out the case that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to gain the presidency.