Friday, July 7, 2017

Muller on Voter Registration Battles, Then and Now

Derek T. Muller, Pepperdine University School of Law, has published What’s Old Is New Again: The Nineteenth Century Voter Registration Debates and Lessons About Voter Identification Disputes, Washburn Law Journal 56 (2017): 109-121.  Cribbing from the introduction:
There is a raging debate over the administration of elections, which is undoubtedly familiar to many. There has been a significant increase in a particular kind of election law pertaining to how states go about administering elections. These laws have largely been promulgated by Republicans and target election fraud—actual or perceived—in an attempt to restore some integrity to the electoral process. Democrats, for the most part, have opposed these laws and often critiqued them as a kind of voter suppression tactic, one that disproportionately burdens racial minorities, the poor, and those who have recently moved into a precinct. Over the years, these positions have hardened into fairly partisan and seemingly intractable positions.

This story, of course, is also the story of the voter registration debates in late nineteenth century America.