Written Assignment #1

Since the passage of the 15th Amendment, various states have used their powers under Article I of the Constitution to impair the ability of minority groups to vote. The potential for states to use electoral laws for voter suppression remains controversial within contemporary American politics, as numerous states have recently enacted questionably restrictive forms of voter identification requirements. For this written assignment, you will conduct research on state voter identification laws and assess their overall impact on voting rights.

To complete this paper assignment, you must do the following:

  • Select a state whose legislature has enacted changes to their voter identification laws since 2011 (see source list). Identify and briefly explain the changes to the voter identification laws in the state you selected.
  • Discuss support for and opposition to the legislative changes in the state you selected, as well as any subsequent legal threats or challenges. Locate and draw upon at leasttwo suitable sources for each ‘side.’
  • Give your evaluation of these legislative changes. Consider the following questions:
  • Do the changes in your case seem likely to lead to voter suppression?
  • Does your case suggest a need for greater federal oversight (or regulation) of state
  • voting laws?


Formatting and Submission Guidelines

 Your paper should be approx. 1500 words in length (double spaced, 12pt font, 1” margins).

 Citations must be formatted in APA, MLA, or Chicago reference style.

 Your paper will be electronically submitted via the appropriate D2L dropbox. Submit your paper in .doc, .rtf, or .pdf file formats.

 All papers will be screened by Turnitin plagiarism detection software page1image16480page1image16640

I strongly recommend starting at either of these two sites for lists and brief explanations of recent voting law changes.

www.brennancenter.org/voting- restrictions-first-time-2016

www.ncsl.org/research/elections- and-campaigns/voter-id-history.aspx

Once you have selected your state,Google Scholar is an excellent place to start a general search; searching here will return primarily news and academic sources, with less various junk than a regular search.

Be picky with your research. For purposes of this assignment, sources that do not clearly advocate or explain positions for or against the laws in question or cannot be attributed to an individual person or civic organization are not likely to be very useful, and should be avoided.

Good Sources for Research

News articles and editorials

You should be able to readily attribute the source of the advocacy from this type of source. Articles from relevant newsmagazines would be preferable to newspapers. You should try to avoid articles that are overly short or lacking in detail.

Statements from elected officials Members of Congress / state officials frequently write letters or essays that identify their position regarding legislation. These would be an excellent source for this project.

Position papers from relevant interest groups / non-governmental organizations

Many organizations have weighed in on this topic. While you may not be able to find a singular author, being able to attribute the advocacy to an organization is good enough.

Questionable Sources for Research

Wikipedia / other encyclopedia These sources usually contain accurate information, but cannot be attributed to a specific author, and do not necessarily contain editorial content.

Q&A sites (e.g. Yahoo! Answers, Google Buzz)

The content of these sites should not be assumed to be accurate, and cannot be attributed to specific authors.


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