Election law is a dynamic and rapidly expanding field that generates enormous public interest. It is also of great practical importance to lawyers and law students, with increasing litigation and many controversial Supreme Court decisions, including Bush v. Gore, Citizens United v. FEC, and Shelby County v. Holder. This Nutshell provides a succinct and thorough description of the law governing elections, the right to vote, and the political process in the United States. The topics addressed include “one person, one vote,” gerrymandering, minority voting rights, ballot access, voter identification, recounts, direct democracy, and campaign finance. The Nutshell examines U.S. constitutional law in these areas, as well as the Voting Rights Act, Federal Election Campaign Act, and other essential statutes. It covers cases decided through the 2022-23 Supreme Court term, including Allen v. Milligan (on the Voting Rights Act) and Moore v. Harper (on the independent state legislature theory).

Imprint: West Academic Publishing
Series: Nutshells
Publication Date: 03/26/2024

Daniel P. Tokaji, University of Wisconsin Law School

Robert Yablon, University of Wisconsin Law School


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Material new to this edition includes:

  • Analysis of the Supreme Court’s decision in Moore v. Harper (2023), rejecting the most robust version of the independent state legislature theory.
  • Discussion of legal controversies surrounding the 2020 election and responsive reforms, including Congress’s 2022 amendments to the Electoral Count Act, the most significant revision of the statute governing the Electoral College since its enactment in 1887.
  • Analysis of the Supreme Court's decision in Rucho v. Common Cause (2019), which held that partisan gerrymandering claims are not justiciable in federal courts, and the resulting shift of gerrymandering litigation to state courts.
  • Analysis of new Supreme Court rulings on racial gerrymandering, including Cooper v. Harris (2017) and Wisconsin Legislature v. Wisconsin Elections Commission (2022).
  • Analysis of important new Supreme Court decisions on the Voting Rights Act, including Allen v. Milligan (2023) (reaffirming the basic framework for analyzing racial vote dilution cases under VRA Section 2), and Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee (2021) (setting new standards for adjudicating Section 2 challenges to laws that burden the voting process).
  • Analysis of the Supreme Court’s latest decisions striking down campaign finance restrictions, FEC v. Ted Cruz for Senate (2022), and disclosure requirements, Americans for Prosperity v. Bonta (2021).

Learn more about this series.