Dan Tokaji's Blog
Professor Dan Tokaji
Election reform, the Voting Rights Act, the Help America Vote Act, and related topics -- with special attention to the voting rights of people of color, non-English proficient citizens, and people with disabilities

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Equal Vote
Friday, November 11
 
Documenting Voting Discrimination
The Voting Rights Initiative at the University of the Michigan lawsuit yesterday released its final report on 323 lawsuits brought under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act since it was amended in 1982. The VRI consists of over 100 law students, working under the direction of Professor Ellen Katz. The press release announcing the report and VRI website states:
Forty years after Congress outlined provisions to prevent racial discrimination in electoral practices, a new report released today (Nov. 10) by the University of Michigan indicates violations persist.....

With the central provisions of the Voting Rights Act expiring in 2007, Congress must determine whether it should renew these provisions, make substantive alterations to them or simply let them lapse. To make this determination, Congress needs information about the past and present status of minority participation in the political process--which is the impetus for the U-M report....

The report provides the first catalogue of findings of voting discrimination made by federal judges in published lawsuits brought under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act since 1982. It also provides a snapshot of complex cases under this provision, representing a larger set of lawsuits filed, since only an estimated one in five Voting Rights Act lawsuits filed ended in a court decision that may be analyzed...
The information is available free of charge on VRI's website. This should be an invaluable resource for researchers interested in studying the implementation of the Voting Rights Act, as well as Congress as it considers other provisions of the law whichwill expire in 2007 unless renewed.

Another recently released source of information on voting rights that promises to be of great use is the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, "Reports on Voting." Jack Chin and Lori Wagner have compiled five volumes of the commission's reports on voting from 1959 to 2001. The reports can be ordered through W.S. Hein & Co.

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