The Democratic Process
Letter from the Publisher
The upcoming November elections have spread the polity’s attention from Washington to the rest of the country as Republican candidates seeking nomination to oppose President Barack Obama in November have vied in primaries and caucuses throughout the spring. Overseas, recent controversies over elections in Russia and Egypt highlight the tenuous grasp of voting rights in much of the world.
The new edition of America Votes!, edited by Benjamin E. Griffith, is an invaluable guide for professionals working in the arena of voting rights. It provides a snapshot of current election law, voting rights, and hot-button electoral practices and problems, particularly in the wake of the 2010 census. Each chapter blends theory and practice, covering a range of topics including voting technology, voter identification and registration, minority-language voting rights, ballot access for candidates, electoral college reform, and the myriad issues surrounding redistricting. The book is an essential resource for lawyers as well as law school professors, election officials, state and local government personnel involved in election administration, election workers, and poll workers. ABA Publishing is proud to bring together the thinking of an esteemed group of expert practitioners and academics for the second edition of America Votes!
Closely related are the recent supplement to the fourth edition of The Lobbying Manual and the second edition of The Realist’s Guide to Redistricting: Avoiding the Legal Pitfalls. The Lobbying Manual supplement, edited by William V. Luneburg, Thomas M. Susman, and Rebecca H. Gordon, comes with dozens of real-world examples and guides the practitioner through the tangle of federal laws and regulations that pertain to lobbying. The 2011 supplement provides guidance to the Lobbying Disclosure Act issued by the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives from June 2009 to June 2011; the various Obama administration initiatives addressing registered lobbyists; the D.C. Circuit opinion in National Association of Manufacturers v. Taylor; and a variety of other clarifications and coverage of important recent developments.
The Realist’s Guide to Redistricting by J. Gerald Hebert et al. is a practical handbook written by seasoned experts in this arcane field. Practitioners, legislators, and citizens who seek to understand the complex mechanisms that determine the composition of the districts that elect our representatives will find the Guide an invaluable manual. Because of deep divisions in the U.S. Supreme Court and a lack of consensus among the lower courts about how to balance race, party, and politics, redistricting law has been an area of particularly dynamic action over the past 30 years. Fluidity among customs and opinions from state to state and between state and federal jurisdictions make replication of standards and practices across jurisdictions difficult. Further, balancing the various laws constraining redistricting within a single jurisdiction—i.e., “one-person, one-vote,” the Voting Rights Act, or the Shaw doctrine—can prove challenging. The Realist’s Guide outlines the fundamentals of redistricting law and identifies the conflicts that make the process so complicated.