Election Law Program Pilots Three Online Platforms of State Election Codes in Colorado, Florida and Virginia

Wondering what the Virginia election code has to say about campaign volunteers and others at the polls? Want context on statutes that govern when voter registration ends in Florida? Curious about how Colorado election statutes impact voter registration lists?

In advance of next month’s election, the Election Law Program, a joint project of William & Mary Law School and the National Center for State Courts, is piloting three online platforms of state election codes in Colorado, Florida and Virginia. Teams of election experts have annotated their state’s election code to give context for how the law operates in these states. In addition, case law, regulations, advisory opinions, and administrative guidance are linked to relevant statutes to provide a full picture of how election codes in Colorado, Florida, and Virginia function.

Continue reading

Posted in Blog Information, Colorado, Florida, Virginia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

WY: Proposal Allows County Residents to Vote in City Elections

By: Gordon Dobbs

In many states, people who live just outside of a city’s borders and who are affected by the city’s laws are nevertheless forbidden from voting in the city’s elections. The Supreme Court considered whether this practice is constitutional in 1978 in the case of Holt Civic Club v. City of Tuscaloosa. In Holt, the Court held that extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) statutes that extend municipal police, sanitary, business, and other similar regulatory powers over those living outside municipal boundaries are indeed constitutional, even when those residents cannot vote in municipal elections. The Court held that those who lived outside of Tuscaloosa’s borders had no constitutional right to vote in Tuscaloosa elections, and that it was reasonable for the city of Tuscaloosa to extend certain services to those residents and require them to pay fees to fund those services. This form of ETJ has its roots in post-World War II development booms on the fringes of urban areas in the United States. Some states have been fairly aggressive in their implementation of ETJ: Texas, for instance, allows cities of over 100,000 to extend their ETJ for five miles outside of the city’s boundaries, and cities have used this power to regulate everything from lot size to fireworks use in the county.

Continue reading

Posted in Wyoming | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Big Apple and Big Money: Matching Public Funds in New York City

By: Caiti Anderson

It seems that New York politicians can’t catch a break – or they just can’t stop getting caught for their indiscretions. Celia Dosamantes, a 25-year-old rising star in Queens, learned this the hard way. Arrested on September 7, 2016, Ms. Dosamantes allegedly forged campaign donations to receive the 6-for-1 matching funds during her failed 2015 run for City Council. While other news organization will surely cover Ms. Dosamantes scandalous trial, New York City’s unique and progressive campaign finance laws stand at the center of this story, and deserve recognition.


Continue reading

Posted in New York | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The ACRU Targets a Third Texas District for Allegedly Registering More Voters Than Eligible

By Justin D. Davenport

On March 4, 2016, the American Civil Rights Union (ACRU) filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, McAllen Division, alleging that Starr County had violated § 8 of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). The ACRU argues that Starr County “failed to make reasonable efforts to conduct voter list maintenance programs” and, therefore, the county has failed to meet its obligations under § 8. Starr County is the third Texas county whose voter rolls the ACRU has challenged for allegedly listing more registered voters in the district than citizens eligible to vote.

Continue reading

Posted in Texas | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Connecticut Becomes Fifth State to Make Automatic Voter Registration Change

By: Cristina DeBiase

In recent years, states have passed laws making it harder to vote through restrictive provisions, such as requiring photo ID, limiting early voting, eliminating same-day registration, or all of the above. Since the 2010 midterm elections alone, nearly half of the states have placed additional restrictions upon voting. Looking forward to November 8, 14 states have new laws that will curtail voting rights for the first time in a presidential election.

Continue reading

Posted in Connecticut | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Strike Three, You’re In? The Two-Party (And Sometimes Three-Party) Election Registrar System in Connecticut

By: Jake Albert

Elections are political.  In every election voters choose among candidates who are associated with one party or another, with two major parties dominating the landscape in this country.  Choosing a member from one of these parties involves countless hours of campaigning and millions of dollars nationwide, all to advance one’s own, or often one’s party’s, agenda while in office.  This can often lead to gridlock when partisan political agendas collide.  But what happens when the very people who run the actual elections are also part of this partisan political system?

Continue reading

Posted in Connecticut | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

4th Circuit Court of Appeals Hears Virginia Voter ID Challenge

By: Kelsey Dolin

On September 22nd, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in the second round of Virginia Democrats’ challenge of the State’s voter ID law. The appellants contend that the law unfairly burdens minorities and young people’s ability to vote because these groups are less likely to possess the requisite photo ID. The District Court previously upheld the law.

Continue reading

Posted in Virginia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Crafting Competitive Criteria: The Institution is Critical

By: Benjamin Williams

With the rapid increase in political polarization in recent years, momentum is building in several states to dramatically alter the redistricting process after the 2020 Census. True to the idea of the states being laboratories of democracy, there have been state constitutional amendments in Florida, partisan gerrymandering challenges in Wisconsin, Maryland, and North Carolina, redistricting criteria bills in Virginia, as well as a myriad of racial gerrymandering challenges. But the new idea—based on a blend of Iowa-style and Florida-style redistricting—is to create stringent criteria for legislatures to follow. That idea is simple enough: if the redistricting body (legislature, independent redistricting commission, college students, etc.) is forced to follow strict criteria when redistricting, the result will be “better” districts that aren’t ugly and are more competitive. But does the data actually bear this out?

Continue reading

Posted in Florida, Iowa, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Disenfranchised Citizens (D.C.): Over 670,000 Left Speechless

By: Mary Boothe

November is coming fast, and with it, a much anticipated election season. But, while many voters around the nation are looking forward to the opportunity to effect change at the presidential, congressional, and local levels, D.C. residents are looking forward to possibly changing their (lack of) statehood status in order to gain an equally representative voice within the federal government.

Continue reading

Posted in Washington D.C. | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Linda Greenhouse Speaks at William & Mary School of Law

By: Caiti Anderson & Kelsey Dolin

William & Mary Law School had the pleasure of hosting Linda Greenhouse on September 22. Ms. Greenhouse is a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for the New York Times who has covered the Supreme Court for thirty years.

She is also a Senior Research Scholar in Law, Knight Distinguished Journalist in Residence, and Joseph Goldstein Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School, where she teaches various courses on the Supreme Court. Her books include Becoming Justice Blackmun, Before Roe v. Wade: Voices that Shaped the Abortion Debate Before the Supreme Court’s Ruling, The U.S. Supreme Court: A Very Short Introduction and The Burger Court and the Rise of the Judicial Right (written with Michael J. Graetz).


Continue reading

Posted in North Carolina, Texas, Virginia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment