Third Circuit Upholds Delaware Election Disclosure Law

By: Briana Cornelius

Earlier this summer, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Delaware state election law that went into effect in 2013 and compels advocacy groups to disclose their political advertising donors.  The Third Circuit’s ruling reversed a district court’s grant of a preliminary injunction declaring the law’s disclosure requirements unconstitutional.

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Striking the Right Balance: Voter ID Laws in Michigan

By: Jason M. Kowalski

The right to a voice in the political process is the most fundamental aspect of American government. “No taxation without representation” was the rallying cry for American Revolution and the ideal that every person should have an equal vote and equal access to vote is one our country still aspires to reach. It is no mystery then, especially in light of our country’s terrible track record in disenfranchising minorities, that Voter ID laws have been the source of such controversy. There are reasonable arguments on both sides of the issue. Advocates argue that such laws ensure that only those who are eligible to vote can do so and protect the integrity of the electoral process with, for most Americans, minimal intrusion. Opponents point out, that such requirements tend to have disparate impact on minority groups who have less access to the IDs themselves or the means to obtain them, including transportation, documentation and sometimes the funds necessary to purchase them.

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When States Gerrymander, Everyone Loses: The Fight Over Florida’s Fifth Congressional District

FloridaFlorida’s Fifth Congressional District is quite a sight to behold. Beginning in Jacksonville, it runs south all the way to the outer edges of Orlando, also managing to scoop up part of Gainesville on the way. The District twists and turns, becoming very narrow and then very wide, so that one must wonder, what could be the motivation behind such an oddly shaped district? Unsurprisingly, the answer is gerrymandering. Unfortunately, the 5th District is an example of gerrymandering at its worst but there is hope. The shape of the 5th District may be changing very soon, but, in the meantime, nobody in either major political party will likely be happy with the district and average citizens are hurting when their community interests are not fairly represented.

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Virginia Congressional Redistricting: William & Mary Law’s Contribution

By: Caiti Anderson

With all of the news about Virginia’s congressional redistricting, it is a little hard to keep all of the plans straight. The proposed plans for Virginia’s redistricting are discussed in the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s September 30th article, “Breaking down the proposals on congressional redistricting.” One of the proposals described is from the William and Mary Law School’s winning team in the 2011 congressional redistricting competition. This plan specifically seeks to “unify metropolitan Richmond… as a compact, new 5th District.”

To read more about the 2011 competition, click here.


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UT: Count My Vote

By: Benjamin Ader

With a presidential election on the horizon, many state election offices and party organizations are beginning their process for electing nominees for various offices up for a vote. In Utah this will be a significant test for a new nomination process inspired by the Count My Vote (CMV) initiative. This movement was a response to the fact that Utah was one of seven states with a caucus system, but the only state that did not have any other means of getting a candidate on a ballot.

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Muddying the Waters: Publishing Proposed Redistricting Remedies

By: Darcee Case

The most recent action in Virginia’s ongoing redistricting saga involves a motion to make the proposed remedial plans available on a publicly accessible website. Perhaps ironically, it is the Defendants (Alcorn) suggesting that the proposals be posted online, while the Plaintiffs (Personhuballah) argues that general public input is not necessary or appropriate.

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Voter Registration Series, Article 1: Mississippi

By: Caiti Anderson

The ability to vote is a powerful tool to ensure one’s voice is heard among the clamor of democracy.  However, this right has remained elusive to many throughout American history.  The long, hard slog to create a “more perfect union” comprises the battle for inclusivity in the American political process.  Over the next few weeks, this series will study the history of voter registration through the comparative analysis of the history of voter registration in different states and the growing movement towards automatic voter registration.  Today’s article will examine Mississippi and the ongoing journey towards fair voter registration laws in that state.

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Election Law Program Alumni File Redistricting Suit

By: Emily Wagman

William & Mary Law School alumni Brian Cannon ’11 and Nick Mueller ’12 are a force in the latest round of redistricting in the state of Virginia. Cannon, Executive Director of OneVirginia2021, is leading an effort to improve fairness in the redistricting process in Virginia. OneVirginia2021: Virginians for Fair Redistricting has filed a lawsuit challenging 11 state legislative districts in the Richmond Circuit Court. Mueller, working with the Richmond firm DurretteCrump, is one of the lead attorneys on the case. As students, both Cannon and Mueller participated in William & Mary Law School’s award-winning redistricting team during the Virginia Redistricting Competition in 2011.

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“Remember the Ladies”

By: Caiti Anderson

Suff.On March 31, 1776, Abagail Adams wrote her now infamous “Remember the Ladies” letter to her husband, John Adams.  Abigail urged John to, “…Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable [sic] to them than your ancestors…. If perticuliar [sic] care and attention is not paid to the Laidies [sic] we are determined to foment a Rebelion [sic], and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.”  Abigail’s letter predicted the onset of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States by more than seventy years.  However, the full realization of this dream was not achieved until August 26, 1920, one-hundred and forty-four years after Abigail’s entreating words.  In celebration of the ninety-fifth anniversary of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, today’s post will focus on the history surrounding women’s battle for the right to vote. Continue reading

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