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Election Law
SUNY Buffalo Law School
Gardner, James A.

 
Election Law – Fall 2008
Professor Gardner
 
 
Chapter 3: The Vote
Minor v. Happersett (p. 95)
Woman seeking the right to vote.
Court breaks inquiry into: Citizenship and Voting
Citizenship doesn’t imply voting. The right to vote is derived from the privileges and immunities clause of the 14th amendment (§1).
Looks at history of states. States can abridge privileges and immunities of its own state, but not others.
No new state has constitution that allows women to vote, so it isn’t a constitutional issue.
15th amend would be completely unnecessary if the right to vote was a privilege or immunity.
*Key: the right to cote comes from another source (state law), NOT from being a citizen of the US.
 
Voter Qualifications
Residency
Dunn v. Blumstein (p. 109)
Duration of residency case. Law said voter eligibility required the voter to live in state for a year and their present county for three months.
EP claim -à Compelling governmental interest AND must be narrowly tailored. COURT: Not narrowly tailored to interest.
Carrington v. Rash (p. 107)
TX law prohibited members of armed services from voting in TX elections while they are in active duty.
State argued: collective voice may overwhelm a small local civilian community and “administrative convenience”
COURT: right to vote = strict scrutiny
“overwhelming” creates a majority, which is what our system is all about
Admin convenience not enough to deprive people of fundamental right.
 
 
 
 
Literacy 9/16 – 9/18
Lassiter v. Northampton County Board of Elections (p. 115)
NC law requires residents to demonstrate literacy as a qualification to vote.
Court UPHOLDS this literacy requirement à “literacy and illiteracy are neutral on race, creed, color, and sex, as reports around the world show”
Katzenbach v. Morgan (p. 120)
VRA §4(e) forbids literacy test
Court is invoking §5 of 14th amend.
Brennan (Majority) says it is “appropriate” because the law satisfies McCulloch test, which is a rational basis test (means-end test)
“One-way ratchet” – §5 is about strengthening the other sections. Congress can expand the reach of the EP clause, but they can never shrink it.
 
Age
Wealth 9/18
Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections (p. 129)
Poll tax that is charged in VA state election.
State: property owners are more responsible and it weeds out people who don’t care
Court: not narrowly tailored to weed out people who don’t care – it is over- and under-inclusive.
 
Felony Convictions 9/23
Richardson v. Ramirez (p. 133)
CA law that permanently removed the franchise from previous felons. Each felon had completed their punishment. They went to prison and finished their parole. Despite this, they have been barred from voting.
Court: P is trying to raise EP claim under §1, but this really deals with §2
Hunter v. Underwood (p. 139)
Felon disenfranchisement clauses may still violate EP clause
See EP Analysis
This was easy EP case for the court to make out because the record showed that the purpose of the law was to disenfranchise blacks.
 
Ch. 4 – Representation
A. Introduction – we are talking about institutions
1. Voting and Representation
Kramer v. Union Free School District No. 15 p. 143)
NY state law restricted voting in elections for local school boards to those who either owned or rented real property, or who had school age children. Voter eligibility requirement for voting in school board election.
State: thought that these people would be most interested and have financial stake because their taxes go to schools. – trying to limit the franchise to people that have the biggest stake in the election.
Court (an

test. The key is residency. The statute has a rational basis because almost anything of any significance a city dos will have an impact on Holt.
 
B. Apportionment
2. General Districts
Wesberry v. Sanders (p. 169)
First to apple “ONE PERSON, ONE VOTE”
Appellants are citizens of Georgia’s 5th Congressional District. That district, out of ten, has a pop according to the census on the 1960s of 823, 680. The average pop of the 10 districts is 394, 312. They are claiming vote dilution – that is their votes for congressman are not given the same weight as the votes of other Georgians.
Court holds that, construed in its historical context, the command of Article 1 section 2 that Representatives be chose “by the people of the several states” means that as nearly as is practicable, one man’s vote in a congressional election is to be worth as much as another’s – equal.
Reynolds v. Sims (p. 173)
Very similar to Wesberry, except we are now looking at elections to the state legislature as opposed to the population disparities in districts electing congress.
The court holds that as a basic constitutional standard, the EP clause requires that the seats in both houses of a bicameral state legislature must be apportioned on a population basis.
One person one vote now applies to the states
4. Special Districts
Salyer Land Co. v. Tulare Lake Basin Water Storage District (p. 195)
Only landowners are permitted to vote in water storage district general