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Voting Rights & Election Law

This collection is devoted to the electoral process: how elections are conducted, the strategy and controversies of political campaigns, how votes are counted, and who is allowed to vote.

Topic Overview

This database is dedicated to democracy in its purest form: how people collectively make decisions and participate in their governments.

In a representative democracy: 

  • people elect officials to create legislation and govern on their behalf.
  • elections fill vacancies in local, regional, and federal governments.

The United States, along with the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and much of the rest of the Western world, are all examples of representative democracies.

In a direct democracy:

  • the electorate decides policy and governs without elected representatives as middlemen.

Switzerland practices direct democracy along with representative democracy. 

Electoral systems, or how people vote, vary from country to country, and then regionally from state to state or municipality to municipality. Within these electoral systems there are rules and studies on:

  • Campaign financing, or how political candidates pay for their electoral campaigns.
  • Suffrage, or who is allowed to vote.
  • Voter turnout, or how many people participate in a specific election.
  • Election integrity, or how freely and fairly an election is conducted (whether the results are tampered with).
  • Voter registration, or how individual eligible voters enroll on an electoral roll prior to casting their ballot.
  • Legislative redistricting, or the process by which new congressional and legislative districts are drawn, determine how much representation people receive in their government. When these new maps are manipulated to give one political party or group an advantage, this is gerrymandering. 
  • And many more topics!

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Landing page showing introductory text. At right are two images: a black and white image of women voting at the turn of the century, and a color image of a working sitting in front of a sign that reads "Get a piece of the action. Register now to vote." At top of page are 16 tabs offering these options: Introduction, All Titles, Books. CRS Reports, GAO Reports, Congressional hearings, Legislative Histories, Brennan Center for Justice, ALI Election Administration, CFR Title 11, US Code Title 52, Serials & Periodicals, Supreme Court Briefs, Bibliography, Scholarly Articles, Most Cited Authors.