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Election Law
University of Illinois School of Law
Mool, Deanna S.

The Importance of Election Law
Controlling the process can mean controlling the outcome of an election
How are Congressional lines drawn in Illinois?
Bipartisan committee tries to come up with a map
Since 1970 they’ve tried making a map, but have failed 3 times
Then the legislature tries to do it with the Governor
House passes its version
The senate passes its version
Rarely agree
Never been able to see it straight through
Depends on who the governor in 2010 will be because the house and senate will be dem
If both of these fail there is a drawing of lots for a state plan (each party submits a plan)
The Right to Vote
Franchise is not a privilege or immunity of citizenship. In the early 20th Century the right to vote was determined on a state-by-state basis. (Minor v Happersett)
Universal adult suffrage was granted in 1920 under the 19th Amendment
The 15th Amendment granted the freed slaves the right to vote
Am 14 § 2 says that citizens can be disenfranchised for rebellion or other crimes
Felons can be denied the right to vote (Richardson v Ramirez)
Rationale: broken social contract
Counter: restore franchise to bring them back into the fold
14th Amendment equal protection claim
Disproportionate Racial Impact
The Evolution of the Franchise
1778 – male, property owner – white
1870 – 15th Amendment – no race restrictions
1920 – 19th Amendment – women can vote
1964 – 24th Amendment – poll tax
1965 – Civil rights/ Voting Rights Act
1971 – 26th Amendment – 18 or older can vote
Barriers to Voting
Any fee to vote is unconstitutional because using wealth, no matter how small the tax, is an intrusion on the right to vote and violates the 14th Amendment
Poll taxes are unconstitutional (Harper v Virginia State Board of Electors)
States cannot limit the franchise unless the requirements for voting are:
Sufficiently tailored to those who are
“primarily interested” in the particular matter (Kramer v Union Free School Dist)
There is no absolute right to an absentee ballot (Griffin v Roupas)
Balance fraud against potential harm to voters
There are certain unavoidable inequalities that don’t violate equal protection
Photo ID
Laws requiring photo ID have been upheld (Crawford v Marion County Election Board)
Strong interest in prevent

e election of the members of state legislatures
There is no precise formula. States must make an honest, good faith effort to make districts as nearly equal as possible
Use intermediate scrutiny
General principles of judicially mandated redistricting
Begins to use the intermediate standard, higher than rational basis, lower than strict scrutiny
Minorities shouldn’t have the power to elect the majority of state legislators
Political subdivisions shouldn’t be given power – they’re creatures of the state
States were originally sovereign, counties weren’t – no comparison between senate and state houses
What is the standard for drawing districts for a state legislature?
Equal population
Any deviation must show legitimate reason
As close as possible or good faith effort
Geographic contiguity
Equal protection claims
Strict scrutiny
Suspect class (protected group)
Fundamental right