Winter 2023, Thursday, 5:00pm - 6:50pm, Luskin 1256
||PP 234 / LAW 832
|Voting Rights Policy & The Law
|Matt A. Barreto (bio)
||Chad W. Dunn (bio)
This year-long course exposes students to voting rights act theory, case law, history, research and then implementation and is part of the UCLA Voting Rights Project (VRP). For a third year (2022-23) we are offering the course concurrently with LAW 832, and Law, Public Policy and Social Science students will meet together, in-person every Thursday in Law 1420. On Tuesdays, we will meet via Zoom and those sessions will sometimes be focused on legal casework and only Law students will be required to meet, and other times we will use the Tuesday meeting for more in-depth technical and hands-on training, especially of mapping software for ALL STUDENTS. All students are welcome to attend all sessions, but Thursday in-person sessions are required for everyone. This collaborative course is taught from the perspective of social science research, and civil rights and voting rights, and co-taught by Professor Matt Barreto (Political Science & Chicana/o Studies) and nationally preeminent civil and voting rights attorney Mr. Chad Dunn (Luskin Public Affairs & School of Law). In addition, different experts from across the country will participate as "guest experts" to provide their perspective on how to study, research and document various aspects related to voting rights.
The course will cover the theoretical factors involved in a voting rights lawsuit, such as the history of discrimination against minority groups in the areas of employment, education, housing, and political representation, and will also give students the chance to participate in a potential real-world VRA lawsuit. Students will learn, and eventually implement themselves, an in-depth study of the historical and statistical approach to document the presence or absence vote dilution or vote denial in different jurisdictions in California, or across the country. Finally, by the Spring quarter, students will help file a lawsuit against a jurisdiction that is out of compliance with a State or Federal voting rights act and the research they did in this course will potentially be used as evidence in the challenge.
Tentative Description of year-long course (Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023)
The course would proceed as follows:
Fall quarter: students are divided into teams to research various jurisdictions across the country that may or may not be vulnerable to a voting rights challenge. Students would research the history of discrimination, how minority candidates have fared when running for office, and the current political and social climate in the jurisdiction. At the conclusion of the Fall quarter each student would give a presentation as to why, or why not the jurisdiction they are studying should be considered for a lawsuit.
Over the winter break, Barreto and Dunn will review all evidence and select two to three jurisdictions in which to potentially file a voting rights lawsuit.
Winter quarter: students would learn in more detail the legal theory relevant to bringing a successful voting rights challenge, as well as how to assemble and present the social science evidence. Students would be divided into teams to work on different aspects of a potential lawsuit on the jurisdictions selected by Barreto and Dunn over the break. Instruction would focus on the practical aspects of a voting rights lawsuit, and students would read case law on prior VRA decisions as well as read and review the accompanying expert reports that were filed.
Spring quarter: As the research and preparation for the lawsuit(s) proceed, students would work on all aspects of the voting rights cases with Barreto and Dunn, including preparation of expert research reports, legal argumentation and filings, preparation of expert depositions and other matters related to the case. In addition to working directly on the lawsuit, the workshop would continue with lectures and practicum on voting rights in general with presentations from outside experts including other faculty on campus, as well as experts in the field from off-campus in the Los Angeles area.
Note on Law students: The UCLA Law School operates on a 2-semester schedule, not a 3-quarter schedule. As such, Law students start about 4 weeks earlier in the Fall, and end about 5 weeks earlier in the Spring. To accomodate this, some sessions are ONLY for Law students, and the Spring semester is more of a workshop/clinic.
Course Materials & Readings
- Grofman, Bernard, Lisa Handley and Richard Niemi. 1994. Minority Representation and the Quest for Voting Equality. Cambridge University Press.
- Henderson, Ana (ed.) 2007. Voting Rights Act Reauthorization of 2006: Perspectives on Democracy, Participation, and Power. Berkeley Public Policy Press.
- Chandler Davidson. 1992. Controversies in Minority Voting. The Brookings Institution Press.
More on Gingles in a local section 2 case:
- October 13, 2022
- Week 3 Lecture Slides
- Mapping your community: Social Explorer
- Read Patino v. City Pasadena 230 F. Supp. 3d 667 (Access via Lexis)
- Read Karlan, 24 Harv. CR-CL L.Rev 173 (1989) “Maps and Misreadings” (Access via scholar.google.com)
- October 27, 2022
- Week 5 Lecture Slides
- Midterm Check-in: Lay out the facts of the jurisdictions you are researching and potential for any VRA violations (2 minutes only! be concise!)
- We will provide feedback and ideas, help you focus and narrow your inquiry
- How-to: Downloading election result data by precinct
- Example from LA County: www.lavote.net Election Results
- Look for: Statement of Votes Cast
- Example Excel sheet Basic regression in Excel
- Pro Tip: Make sure the Data Analysis ToolPak is loaded in MS Excel (instructions here)
- Link to Ford County, Kansas: Election Office
- VAP data by precinct (at data.census.gov): Race Hispanic 18 -- YOU MUST TYPE IN: RACE HISPANIC 18
- Click on Filter -> Click on Geography ->
- Scroll down to 'Voting District' -> Choose State -> Choose County ->
- Select first box at top: ALL PRECINCTS
- When data table appears, to download, first select Transpose and then click Excel icon
- November 10, 2022
- Prof. Dunn Tuesday Lecture: Week 7 Lecture Slides (Nov 8)
- Read: NAACP vs. East Ramapo CSD 7:17-cv-08943-CS-JCM
- Census data or voter file data
- Week 7 lecture slides (Nov 10)
- November 17, 2022
- Elections and the Purcell doctrine
- November 24, 2022
- NO CLASS THANKSGIVING BREAK
FINALS WEEK, 2022 - Complaints due via email
- December 1, 2022
- In-class work session
- Prof. Barreto and Prof. Dunn will help with final pieces of your complaint
WINTER QUARTER 2023
Week 1 (Jan 18)
Week 2 (Jan 26)
Week 3 (Feb 2)
Week 4 - Work in-class with your teams (Feb 9)
- VRP lawyers will be present for meetings
- Updates from the research teams
- Next steps on researching your jurisdiction
Week 5 (Feb 16)
- Going in-depth on Racially Polarized Voting (RPV)
- VRP data scientist, Mr. Michael Rios, guest lecture
- Week 5 Lecture Slides
Week 6 (Feb 23)
Week 7 (Mar 2)
- Updates from the research teams
- Any particular road blocks in your case
- Specific items you need for your complaint
- Storytelling - Bringing the case to life
- Week 7 Lecture Slides
Week 8 (Mar 9)
- Arlington Heights and Intent
- Week 8 lecture slides
Week 9 (Mar 16)
- Final ESRI map session, exporting your maps and metrics
- Guest lecture: Mr. Tye Rush, Senior Fellow, UCLA VRP
- (in class demonstration)
FINALS WEEK (Mar 23)
- Final presentations from each team
- Present your case to the class
- Demonstration / illustrative maps
- Gingles Factors
- Senator Factors
- Any Arlington Heights factors?
Additional readings and information
Accessing UCLA ArcGIS Redistricting -- Notes from Tye Rush
- Access Esri Redistricting Online here: https://redistricting2.esri.com/redistricting/
- You can access ArcGIS Online using UCLA SSO. No need to create accounts. You can go to ArcGIS online at UCLA home page to sign in.
- if you have questions about sign in, pleae refer to this libguide
- For campus wide GIS support/consultation, please refer to this page
- If you want to reset your password for ArcGIS Online account, please emailMatt Hedge (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Angsana (email@example.com)
- If you want to inquire about LARIAC, please refer to dataverse@ucla
- If you have quetions about Carpentries, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you want to know more about Lessons for Librarians in Open Science Principles and Methods, please refer to this webpage
- For all other questions, please send an email to email@example.com for more information. Thank you!
- Texas voter ID
- Additional topics
- December 2, 2021 - meet in Public Affairs 1246
- Week 9 Lecture Slides
- Troubleshooting data on your jurisdictions
- Tuesday December 7 & Thursday December 9