Today in Legal History: Poll Tax Abolished

On January 23, 1964, South Dakota ratified the 24th Amendment, abolishing the use of the poll tax as a requirement to vote in federal elections.  The 24th Amendment was the work of Senator Spessard L. Holland of Florida, who took up the cause in 1949.  Poll taxes were a discriminatory means of preventing newly enfranchised African Americans from voting by requiring voters to pay a fee to cast a ballot.  The fees were set high enough to keep poor African Americans from voting, but not high enough to be a hardship on middle class and affluent whites.


 

Election Law at the SU Law Library

Clinton, Cruz, Trump, Sanders, Kasich… these names are probably familiar to you, and this November it’s more than likely one of these individuals will be President. Election law determines America’s future. This week, in Harris v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a redistricting plan that the plaintiff’s argued was a result of partisan gerrymandering. And, earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court held line drawing can be done based on a state’s total population. Both opinions were unanimous. Does this sound confusing? Don’t fret, our law library has the resources to prepare you:

Election Law and Democratic Theory by David A. Schultz
Available at SU Law Library LAW-4th Floor (KF4886.S38 2014)
Publisher’s Description:

While numerous books and articles examine various aspects either of democratic theory or of specific topics in election law, there is no comprehensive book that provides a detailed and scholarly discussion of the political and democratic theory underpinnings of election law. Election Law and Democratic Theory fills this important gap, as author David Schultz offers a scholarly analysis of the political principles and democratic values underlying election law and the regulation of political campaigns and participants in the United States.

Bending Toward Justice : The Voting Rights Act and the Transformation of American Democracy by Gary May
Available at SU Law Library LAW-4th Floor (KF4893.M39 2013)
Publisher’s Description:

In Bending Toward Justice, celebrated historian Gary May describes how black voters overcame centuries of bigotry to secure and preserve one of their most important rights as American citizens. The struggle that culminated in the passage of the Voting Rights Act was long and torturous, and only succeeded because of the courageous work of local freedom fighters and national civil rights leaders—as well as, ironically, the opposition of Southern segregationists and law enforcement officials, who won public sympathy for the voting rights movement by brutally attacking peaceful demonstrators.

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens wrote a review of this work in The New York Review of Books titled “The Court & the Right to Vote: A Dissent”

America Votes! : A Guide to Modern Election Law and Voting Rights by Benjamin E. Griffith
Available at SU Law Library LAW-4th Floor (KF4886.A86 2012)
Publisher’s Description:

This book is a snapshot of America’s voting and electoral practices, problems, and most current issues. The book addresses a variety of fundamental areas concerning election law from a federal perspective such as the Help America Vote Act, lessons learned from the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, voter identification, and demographic and statistical experts in election litigation, and more. It is a useful guide for lawyers as well as law school professors, election officials, state and local government personnel, and election workers.

Race, Reform, and Regulation of the Electoral Process: Recurring Puzzles in American Democracy by Guy-Uriel E. Charles, Heather K. Gerken, & Michael S. Kang
Available at SU Law Library LAW-3rd Floor (JK1965.R33 2011)
Publisher’s Description:

This book offers a critical re-evaluation of three fundamental and interlocking themes in American democracy: the relationship between race and politics, the performance and reform of election systems, and the role of courts in regulating the political process. This edited volume features contributions from some of the leading voices in election law and social science. The authors address the recurring questions for American democracy and identify new challenges for the twenty-first century. They not only consider where current policy and scholarship is headed, but also suggest where it ought to go over the next two decades. The book thus provides intellectual guideposts for future scholarship and policymaking in American democracy.


 

Where do I drop off my ballot?

It’s Election Day here in King County, Washington. If you haven’t submitted your ballot, there is still time. You have until 8 p.m. tonight (August 7) to drop off your ballot at a ballot drop box or a ballot drop-off van. The King County Elections website has information on the various locations.