Spring 2010 Course Description

Advanced Topics in Public Policy

Section Title: Election Law & Policy
Instructor(s): Ray Martinez
Course: P A 388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy
(previously Seminar in Topics in Public Policy)
Unique Number: 62457
Day & Time: Thursdays, 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Room: TNH 3.124
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information
Notes: Meets with Law 379M-28735

Description: The study of the electoral process and judicial regulation of campaigns usually focuses on theoretical discussions involving constitutional questions of free speech and/or equal protection. Traditional election law courses have been grounded primarily in the study of redistricting and campaign finance (focusing upon relevant constitutional principles such as "one person one vote") as well as federal statutory 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 law of election administration has been firmly established as yet another essential component of any well-rounded study of election law.

My goal with this course is to provide: (1) a concise, yet thorough introduction to traditional election law -- the constitutional, legal and policy considerations which govern redistricting and campaign finance; (2) significant coverage of the laws and policies which govern the administration of elections (in other words, focusing on the "mechanics of our democracy," such as voting system certification and voter registration procedures); (3) a greater awareness and understanding of several "hot button" issues currently confronting the field of election law and administration, such as photo identification requirements for voters casting ballots, citizenship verification requirements for individuals registering to vote, and voter verifiable paper audit trails for electronic voting systems; and (4) interaction with several guest lecturers during the semester who come from the ranks of government, foundations and/or advocacy organizations and who are stakeholders in the field of election law and election administration.

The following casebook will be required: Daniel Hays Lowenstein, Richard L. Hasen and Daniel P. Tokaji, Election Law-Cases and Materials (fourth edition 2008). I will provide additional reading materials throughout the semester.

Grades will be based on the following: class participation and presentations (10%); two short writing assignments (20%); and a written final examination (70%).

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