The University of Texas at Austin   School of Law

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Fall 2008 - Election Law and Policy

Martinez, Ray III

Credit Hours: 3  Course ID: 379M  Unique # 28925

Meeting Day(s)TimeLocation
M7:00 - 10:00 pmSRH 3.102
No exam information is available for this class.
Registration Information
This course is restricted to upper division students only.

The study of election law usually focuses on theoretical discussions involving constitutional questions of free speech and/or equal protection.  Traditional election law has been grounded primarily in the study of redistricting and campaign finance, focusing upon relevant constitutional principles such as "one man one vote" and related federal laws such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002.  However, with the passage of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 and more recently, the Help America Vote Act of 2002, the administration of elections--a complex web of legal, procedural and practical requirements that affect the "how, when, and where" of both casting and counting of ballots--has been firmly established as the third essential element for any well-rounded study of election law.

The primary purpose of this course is to provide students with (a) a basic introduction to traditional election law--the constitutional, legal and policy considerations which govern redistricting and campaign finance; (b) a significant overview--at both the state and federal level--of the laws and policies which govern the administration of elections; (c) an assessment of the current "state of play" around the nation regarding the administration of elections and the progress of implementing one of the most significant federal election laws passed in the last 40 years--the Help America Vote Act of 2002; and (d) the ability to think critically about the ongoing debates involving "hot-button" issues in election administration (e.g., voter identification and citizenship verification requirements and voter verifiable paper audit trails for electronic voting systems).  The course will be conducted through class lectures and student presentations and discussions, as well as an in-depth analysis of an already-concluded congressional election.

Readings and articles required for this course will be available in PDF form on the blackboard.  An additional textbook may be assigned prior to the start of the course.

Grades will be based on research paper (70%); short writing assignments (20%); and participation and presentations (10%).