Codrington on Voting and State Constitutions

Wilfred U. Codrington III, Voting Under State Constitutions (forthcoming, Oxford Handbook of American Election Law):

Unlike their federal counterpart, state constitutions confer the right to vote in plain and affirmative terms. State charters also contain unique provisions that, among other things, regulate the redistricting process and set out the terms for political participation, including direct citizen lawmaking. And critically, state constitutions interact with the federal Constitution, which limits them in meaningful respects, while also governing the local administration of elections. Indeed, every political contest has aspects that are governed by state constitutions, making them an integral, yet underappreciated, source of American election law. This chapter underscores these and other crucial points by examining several dimensions of voting under state constitutions. It first lays out a broad history of voting under state charters. Then it provides a general overview of key structural components of state constitutions that govern the right to vote, followed by a brief assessment of two particularly important doctrinal matters explained in the context of particularly contested issues. Finally, the chapter closes by raising a few topics that would benefit from additional research and exploration to advance the scholarship in this ever-developing area of election law.

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