Cooper v. Harris raises an issue litigated over and over since the 2010 census. Challengers claim the North Carolina legislature unconstitutionally packed minority voters into a few legislative districts to lessen their ability to influence races in other districts. The Supreme Court agreed holding 5-3 that a North Carolina District Court correctly ruled that North Carolina relied too heavily on race in designing two majority-minority congressional districts.

The Supreme Court has held that per the Equal Protection Clause if the use of race predominates in redistricting the district’s design must be “narrowly tailored” to serve a “compelling interest.” Complying with Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), which prohibits vote dilution— “dispersal of [a group’s members] into districts in which they constitute an ineffective minority of voters”—is a compelling interest. A “strong basis in evidence” is needed to show the VRA requires race-based districting.  

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to review the Fourth Circuit’s decision holding that North Carolina’s voter ID law is unconstitutional and violates the Voting Rights Act.

The Fourth Circuit ruling received a lot of attention because in a sharply worded opinion, which overruled a district court decision, it held the North Carolina’s voter ID law intentionally discriminates against black voters. Most courts which have struck down voter ID laws have done so on the grounds they have a disparate impact on minority voters.  

In a 7-1 decision in Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections the Supreme Court rejected the notions that race predominates in redistricting only when there is an actual conflict between traditional redistricting criteria and race and that the predominance analysis should apply only to new district lines that appear to deviate from traditional redistricting criteria.

Regarding District 75, where the lower court determined race did predominate, the Supreme Court agreed the State’s use of race was narrowly tailored because it had “good reasons to believe” that a target of a 55% black voting-age population (BVAP) was necessary to avoid diminishing the ability of black voters to elect their preferred candidate.

The voting rights of the millions of U.S. citizens living overseas, as well as Service members and their eligible family, are protected by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA).  About 75 percent of the 1.3 million service members, 700,000 family members, and an estimated 2.6 million U.S. citizens residing abroad are eligible to vote absentee through the UOCAVA process.

The Federal Post Card Application, or FPCA, and the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot, or FWAB, make the voting process easier for...

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, voters between the ages of 18-24 have consistently voted at lower rates than all other age groups since 1964. Consequently, states are enacting statutes allowing for persons under the legal voting age of 18 to pre-register to vote.

The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) calls Americans who were born internationally and who have never resided in the U.S. “never resided” voters. The Uniformed and Overseas Citizen Absentee Voting Act grants eligibility for citizens that live outside of the U.S. to vote for federal offices. However, the jurisdiction in which the voter can cast a ballot relies on their last place of residency in the states. This leaves room for confusion when discussing citizens that have never resided in the United States and therefore do not have a “previous residency.”

CSG Midwest
Many states offer citizens a direct opportunity to create laws or constitutional amendments via the ballot box. Those that do also allow legislators to amend or even overturn those initiatives, a process generally known as “legislative intervention.”
CSG Midwest
Six states in the Midwest have “direct democracy”-type provisions that allow voters to veto bills passed by their legislatures or to adopt statutory or constitutional changes via the ballot.

In response to Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s request for a statewide recount of the 2016 election, Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson ordered the Michigan Bureau of Elections to audit all Michigan election results. A total of 4, 800 precincts were open across the state on Election Day, but 322 polling precincts could not be recounted due to the order of a federal judge to stop the completion of the recount because Jill Stein was not an aggrieved candidate. Of the 136 precincts in Detroit that were a part of...

On Jan. 18, the Virginia Senate introduced an amendment to Senate Bill 1490 to the Committee on Privileges and Elections calling for a pilot program that would allow the use of Common Access Card, or CAC, digital signatures on election materials. The proposed pilot program was adapted from a recent report from CSG’s Overseas Initiative, Recommendations from The CSG Overseas Voting Initiative Technology Working Group, released in early December 2016.

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