From the independent state legislature theory to Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, we put together an array of resource pages about the hot button legal concepts that keep popping up in voting rights and election litigation. These pages feature all of our relevant content on each subject, including in-depth topic breakdowns and regularly updated content from our guest contributors, Marc and the Democracy Docket team. Check out any of the resource pages below to learn more.
Trump’s Election Subversion Indictments
Former President Donald Trump has been indicted four times, making him the first former president to ever be criminally indicted. Focusing on Trump’s election subversion indictments, Democracy Docket is tracking the indictment out of special counsel Jack Smith’s office in Washington, D.C. and the indictment from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D) in Georgia.
Read on to learn about the two election subversion indictments facing Trump.
2024 GOP Presidential Candidates
Here you can find the voting rights and election denialism records of each Republican presidential candidate who has qualified for the debate stage, featuring a tiered system breaking down the severity of each candidate’s record on democracy.
From the leader of the insurrection to a billionaire-turned-governor from North Dakota, the GOP’s…field features a wide array of figures, all of whom are antagonistic toward voting and democracy to varying degrees.
Read on to learn about where the major GOP candidates for president stand on voting rights and democracy.
U.S. Supreme Court
As the highest court in the U.S. federal judiciary, the Supreme Court often has the last say in issues crucial to democracy. Having decided a flurry of landmark cases impacting voting rights and redistricting in the last decade, the Court is as prevalent as ever.
As the nation’s highest court, the U.S. Supreme Court has wide-ranging power over the country’s judicial system. Accordingly, the Court has heard and decided an array of landmark voting rights and redistricting cases.
Read on to learn about the landmark voting rights and redistricting cases before the U.S Supreme Court.
The Independent State Legislature Theory
The independent legislature theory is a fringe right-wing theory arguing that state legislatures alone have the power to pass laws regulating federal elections. The theory has become especially prominent in recent years, as it was used in the efforts to overturn the 2020 election and most recently was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court in Moore v. Harper.
The theory interprets the word ‘legislature’ to mean that the state legislature — and only the state legislature — can make laws regulating federal elections. This differs from the standard interpretation, in which ‘legislature’ means the state’s general lawmaking process, which includes the governor’s veto, citizen-led ballot measures and rulings of state courts.
Read on to learn about the independent state legislature theory and what was at stake in the U.S. Supreme Court case Moore v. Harper.
Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act
Detailing everything you need to know about Section 2 of the VRA, this page highlights the history of Section 2, the battles it has endured and what it means for the future of voting rights, featuring case breakdowns and detailed content from our team.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA), a federal law adopted during the height of the civil rights movement thanks to the tireless efforts of Black activists, enforced the 15th Amendment’s guarantee that the right to vote can’t be denied “on account of race” and addressed barriers that prevented Black voters from casting their ballots.
Read on to learn about Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, why it’s so important and what was at stake in the U.S. Supreme Court case, Allen v. Milligan.
Private Right of Action
A private right of action is a legal concept that allows for an individual or organization to file a lawsuit based on an alleged violation of law and then ask for relief relating to that alleged violation. This page features the court cases and Democracy Docket content relating to the conservative legal movement’s latest target.
If there is no private right of action, only the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) can file a lawsuit under a given statute, severely limiting the power behind a law by restricting who can sue under it.
Read on to learn what the legal concept “private right of action” means and how conservatives are trying to undermine the enforcement of voting rights protections.
The Purcell Principle addresses how soon before an election the courts can change voting or election laws. The principle stems from a 2006 election case, Purcell v. Gonzalez, which ruled that courts must avoid changing the rules so close to an election that it could create confusion for voters and election officials. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increased reliance on this principle in election litigation.
From blocking pandemic-era voting reforms to reinstating gerrymandered congressional maps, the Supreme Court has cited Purcell in ways that are inconsistent and vague, opening the door for unnecessary voter disenfranchisement and unfair districts.
Read on to learn about the Purcell principle and how it influences litigation during an election cycle.