arrowSection 1.1 - Registration Rules

This topic is monitored by Moritz Law Professor Terri L. Enns

Print Page

Annotated Bibliography

Carmichael, Christopher W. "Proposals for Reforming the American Electoral System After the 2000 Presidential Election: Universal Voter Registration, Mandatory Voting and Negative Balloting." Hamline Journal of Public Law and Policy 23 (2002): 255-324.

Carmichael argues that Bush v. Gore destroyed Americans' trust in the electoral system, which will result in even lower voter participation. Low voter participation undermines the social contract and the very basis for a democratic system, according to Carmichael. To forestall these problems, Carmichael advocates three changes to voting systems: (1) creating a comprehensive and nationwide list of eligible voters, (2) requiring all eligible voters to vote or pay a fine, and (3) mandatory inclusion of a none-of-the-above choice for voters.

Crump, Denise M. "The National Voter Registration Act of 1991: Keeping the Voter Motor Running." Seton Hall Legislative Journal 17 (1993): 473-504.

Crump briefly reviews voter registration reforms and details modern legislation aimed at increasing voter turnout, specifically voter registration reform. Crump describes the purposes and legislative history of The National Voter Registration Act of 1991, which ultimately was felled by presidential veto. Crump urges the 103rd Congress to enact a bill that fulfills the purpose of the Act and simplifies voter registration and predicts that President Clinton will not veto it.

Cunningham, Dayna L. (1991), "Who Are to Be the Electors? A Reflection on the History of Voter Registration in the United States." Yale Law & Policy Review 9 (1991): 370-404.

Cunningham argues that the struggle over voting rights has really been about the disagreement over whether some citizens are more qualified than others to vote. The government has an affirmative duty, Cunningham asserts, to eliminate the effects of voter registration requirements that were intentionally used to curtail the registration and participation of certain racial and socioeconomic groups. Cunningham also argues that modern concerns about election security and voter fraud may perpetuate the bias of current registration schemes.

Gemmiti, Nathan V. "Porsche or Pinto? The Impact of the 'Motor Voter Registration Act' on Black Political Participation." Boston College Third World Law Journal 18 (1998): 71-103.

Gemmiti argues that low voter participation rates are directly tied to restrictive voter registration rules. He asserts that black Americans register to vote at lower rates than white Americans because of the history of voter discrimination. Once he places the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 in the historical context of voter discrimination, Gemmiti finds that the NVRA is a good start toward improving political participation of historically disenfranchised groups. He urges the federal government to continue to make voter registration easier, for example through same-day voter registration.

Green, Kevin K. "A Vote Properly Cast? The Constitutionality of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993." Journal of Legislation 22 (1996): 45-84.

Green argues that The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 is a valid exercise of Congress' constitutional power pursuant to the Elections Clause and does not violate the Tenth Amendment. Green concludes that the framers of the constitution viewed the powers of Congress under the Elections Clause as quite broad. The courts, Green asserts, have historically deferred to Congress in matters of regulating federal elections.

Halperin, Jason P.W. "A Winner at the Polls: A Proposal for Mandatory Voter Registration." NYU Journal of Legislation and Public Policy 3 (1999): 69-123.

Halperin examines the historical and current reasons that American participation in the political process has decreased over time and lags behind other industrialized democracies. The best way to increase voter participation, Halperin suggests, is to abandon traditional voter registration rules and adopt mandatory registration of voters with an opt-out provision. Halperin argues that among other alternatives to increasing voter participation, including mandatory voting, mail-in voting, and same day registration, only mandatory registration is constitutional, would significantly increase voter participation and strengthen a citizen's right to vote.

Wright, Brenda. "Young v. Fordice: Challenging Dual Registration Under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act." Mississippi College Law Review 18 (1998): 67-90.

Wright recounts the events surrounding Young v. Fordice, from the filing of the lawsuit to her preparation for oral arguments before and the eventual decision of the United States Supreme Court, in which she appeared as counsel. Young challenged Mississippi's decision to apply the arguably easier voting registration procedures required by the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 only to federal elections and not to registration for local elections. Wright reports that Mississippi's dual registration system resulted in racial disparities and laments that it took a federal lawsuit for Mississippi to comply with NVRA.