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University of Michigan Law School

Discrimination

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Election Law

Articles 1 - 9 of 9

Full-Text Articles in Law

Poll Workers, Election Administration, And The Problem Of Implicit Bias, Antony Page, Michael J. Pitts Jan 2009

Poll Workers, Election Administration, And The Problem Of Implicit Bias, Antony Page, Michael J. Pitts

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Racial bias in election administration-more specifically, in the interaction between poll workers and voters at a polling place on election day-may be implicit, or unconscious. Indeed, the operation of a polling place may present an "optimal" setting for unconscious racial bias. Poll workers sometimes have legal discretion to decide whether or not a prospective voter gets to cast a ballot, and they operate in an environment where they may have to make quick decisions, based on little information, with few concrete incentives for accuracy, and with little opportunity to learn from their errors. Even where the letter of the law ...


Let's Not Jump To Conclusions: Approaching Felon Disenfranchisement Challenges Under The Voting Rights Act, Thomas G. Varnum Jan 2008

Let's Not Jump To Conclusions: Approaching Felon Disenfranchisement Challenges Under The Voting Rights Act, Thomas G. Varnum

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 invalidates voting qualifications that deny the right to vote on account of race or color. This Article confronts a split among the federal appellate courts concerning whether felons may rely on Section 2 when challenging felon disenfranchisement laws. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals allows felon disenfranchisement challenges under Section 2; however, the Second and Eleventh Circuits foresee unconstitutional consequences and thus do not. After discussing the background of voting rights jurisprudence, history of felon disenfranchisement laws, and evolution of Section 2, this Article identifies the points of contention among the ...


The Power Of Observation: The Role Of Federal Observers Under The Voting Rights Act, James Thomas Tucker Jan 2007

The Power Of Observation: The Role Of Federal Observers Under The Voting Rights Act, James Thomas Tucker

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) is one of the most successful civil rights laws ever enacted. Following its passage, the promise of the Fifteenth Amendment has become a reality for millions of Americans. Black voters in the South register to vote without being subjected to discriminatory tests or devices. Minority citizens can cast ballots free of intimidation and violence. Barriers posed by English-only elections have been removed for many language minority voters. Voters are permitted to receive assistance from the person of their choice. Federal observers play an indispensable role in serving as the eyes and ears of ...


The Politics Of Preclearance, Luis Fuentes-Rohwer, Guy-Uriel E. Charles Jan 2007

The Politics Of Preclearance, Luis Fuentes-Rohwer, Guy-Uriel E. Charles

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Essay examines recent charges of political motivation against the Department of Justice and its enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. These accusations appear well-deserved, on the strength of the Department's recent handling of the Texas redistricting submission and Georgia's voting identification requirement. This Essay reaches two conclusions. First, it is clear that Congress wished to secure its understanding of the Act into the future through its preclearance requirement. Many critics of the voting rights bill worried about the degree of discretion that the legislation accorded the Attorney General. Supporters worried as well, for this degree of discretion ...


The End Of Preclearance As We Knew It: How The Supreme Court Transformed Section 5 Of The Voting Rights Act, Peyton Mccrary, Christopher Seaman, Richard Valelly Jan 2006

The End Of Preclearance As We Knew It: How The Supreme Court Transformed Section 5 Of The Voting Rights Act, Peyton Mccrary, Christopher Seaman, Richard Valelly

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Article’s analysis reveals that by the 1990s the intent, or purpose, prong of Section 5 had become the dominant basis for objections to discriminatory voting changes. During that decade an astonishing 43 percent of all objections were, according to this assessment, based on discriminatory purpose alone. Thus, a key issue for Congress in determining how to deal with the preclearance requirement of the Act due to expire in 2007-assuming it seeks to restore the protection of minority voting rights that existed before January 2000-is whether to revise the language of Section 5 so as to restore the long-accepted ...


Felon Disenfrachisement Laws: Partisan Politics In The Legislatures, Jason Belmont Conn Jan 2005

Felon Disenfrachisement Laws: Partisan Politics In The Legislatures, Jason Belmont Conn

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This examination of the institutional changes to state legislatures, synthesized with an analysis of the handling of felon disenfranchisement laws by state legislatures, presents a troubling realization about the law today: in the twenty-first century, partisan politics moderates decisions about even the most basic and fundamental principles of democracy. This Note suggests that because state legislators follow their party leadership and position, a state's traditional treatment of racial minorities, geographic location, and even ideology are not the strongest indicators of a state's disenfranchisement laws. Rather, partisan politics drives changes to the state laws governing felon voter eligibility.


Redefining American Democracy: Do Alternative Voting Systems Capture The True Meaning Of "Representation"?, James Thomas Tucker Jan 2002

Redefining American Democracy: Do Alternative Voting Systems Capture The True Meaning Of "Representation"?, James Thomas Tucker

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Article explores whether alternative voting systems are compatible with the meaning of representation in the United States. Part II begins by examining the role of geographical representation and the effect it has on the ability of individuals and groups of voters to give or withhold their consent. Part III follows this inquiry by assessing the relationship between representatives and constituents under majoritarian and proportional systems to determine the consequences of moving away from geographical representation towards models designed to enhance opportunities for all voters to choose winning candidates. A description of what a "majority" is and when and how ...


Lowering The Preclearance Hurdle Reno V. Bossier Parish School Board, 120 S. Ct. 866 (2000), Alaina C. Beverly Jan 2000

Lowering The Preclearance Hurdle Reno V. Bossier Parish School Board, 120 S. Ct. 866 (2000), Alaina C. Beverly

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Case Note examines a recent Supreme Court decision that collapses the purpose and effect prongs of Section 5, effectively lowering the barrier to preclearance for covered jurisdictions. In Reno v. Bossier Parish School Board II the Court determined that Section 5 disallows only voting plans that are enacted with a retrogressive purpose (i.e., with the purpose to "worsen" the position of minority voters). The Court held that Section 5 does not prohibit preclearance of a plan enacted with a discriminatory purpose but without a retrogressive effect. Evidence of a Section 2 violation alone will not be enough to ...


Identifying The Harm In Racial Gerrymandering Claims, Samuel Issacharoff, Thomas C. Goldstein Jan 1996

Identifying The Harm In Racial Gerrymandering Claims, Samuel Issacharoff, Thomas C. Goldstein

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Article proceeds along two lines. First, it reviews the theories of harm set forth in the Justices' various opinions, i.e., the articulated risks to individual rights that may or may not be presented by racial gerrymandering. What is learned from this survey is that Shaw and its progeny serve different purposes for different members of the Court. Four members of the Shaw, Miller v. Johnson, and United States v. Hays majorities-Chief Justice Rehnquist, along with Justices Scalia, Kennedy, and Thomas- are far more concerned with "race" than "gerrymandering." In particular, they consider all race-based government classifications to be ...