Donovan, Mooney, & Smith, State & Local Politics, cited in Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissent

in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action. The opinion is available here.

Here are the relevant passages….

Cite as: 572 U. S. ___ (2014)   19
SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting

And the costs of qualifying an amendment are significant. For example, “[t]he vast majority of petition efforts . . . require initiative sponsors to hire paid petition circulators, at significant expense.” Segura Brief 10; see also T. Donovan, C. Mooney, & D. Smith, State and Local Politics: Institutions and Reform 96 (2012) (hereinafter Donovan) (“In many states, it is difficult to place a measure on the ballot unless professional petition firms are paid to collect some or all the signatures required for qualification”);


SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting

In 2008, for instance, over $800 million was spent nationally on state-level initiative and referendum campaigns, nearly $300 million more than was spent in the 2006 cycle. Donovan 98. “In several states, more money [is] spent on ballot initiative campaigns than for all other races for political office combined.” Ibid.


Must Read: Paul @Gronke’s Expert Report in League of Women Voters of North Carolina, et al. v. North Carolina

Gronke’s full report is available here

Of particular interest to ElectionSmith readers, this paragraph on page 12:

Two recent articles on the racial impact of voting law changes in Florida, one published in the Election Law Journal (ELJ)21 and the second published in Political Research Quarterly are particularly pertinent to this report. In the first, the authors examined the impact of a new Florida law passed in 2011 that truncated the state’s early voting period and eliminated voting on the last Sunday
before Election Day. The authors reported that “Democratic, African American, Hispanic, younger, and first-time voters were disproportionately likely to vote early in 2008 . . . We expect these types of voters to be disproportionately affected by the recent changes to Florida’s voting laws.”22 The second article followed up on the initial research conducted in the ELJ article. In this second
piece, the authors examine the racial and ethnic composition of the early inperson electorate in Florida using voter registration and voter history files. They show that Black early-in person participation dropped by four percentage points as a consequence of the cutback in early voting, while White early in-person participation dropped less than a percentage point. This difference is not due to changing composition of the electorate.23


22 Michael C. Herron and Daniel A. Smith, “Souls to the Polls: Early Voting in Florida in the Shadow of House Bill 1355,” Election Law Journal 11, no. 3 (2012): 331.
23 See Michael C. Herron and Daniel A. Smith, “Race, Party, and the Consequences of Restricting Early Voting in Florida in the 2012 General Election,” Political Research Quarterly (published online Feb. 24, 2014),, at Tables 2 & 3.


As usual, @AriBerman nails it: “Republicans Used to Support Voting Rights—What Happened?”

Another must read from Ari.  Here’s a tidbit:

The election of the first black president and the resurrection of voter suppression efforts was hardly a coincidence. New voting restrictions took effect in nineteen states from 2011–12. Nine states under GOP control have adopted measures to make it more difficult to vote since 2013. Since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in June 2013, half of the states (eight in total) previously covered under Section 5 have passed or implemented new voting restrictions.

These laws, from voter ID to cutting early voting to restricting voter registration, have been passed under the guise of stopping voter fraud, although there’s scant evidence that such fraud exists. Obama cited a comprehensive study by News21 that found only ten cases of in-person voter impersonation since 2000. “The real voter fraud,” the president said, “is people who try to deny our rights by making bogus arguments about voter fraud.”

A paper I’ve written with Seth McKee (Texas Tech) and two of my UF grad students, Will Hicks and Mitch Sellers), “Evolution of an Issue: Voter ID Laws in the American States,” finds that not all Republican-controlled states have pushed for more restrictions on voting rights over the past decade. Rather, restrictive voter ID laws have been advanced in Republican-controlled states that have higher turnout and that are presidential battleground states.  Below is our abstract here’s a link to a draft of the paper.



In this paper we undertake a comprehensive examination of voter ID legislation in the American states, from 2001 through 2012. We show that there has been a notable evolution in the behavior of partisan lawmakers regarding their handling of this issue. Whereas in the early 2000s voter ID laws were few and primarily motivated by efforts to comply with the 2002 Help America Vote Act (HAVA), which was passed in response to the vote counting fiasco in Florida in the 2000 presidential election, more recently there is evidence of extreme partisan polarization regarding voter ID laws across state legislatures. With a dataset that includes over 1,000 proposed and nearly 100 enacted voter ID laws spanning a dozen years, we employ (1) negative binomial and multilevel over-dispersed Poisson count models and (2) pooled time series cross-sectional regression models with binary dependent variables, to determine the likelihood a state legislature in a given year introduces and adopts restrictive voter ID bills. It is clear from our evaluation of legislative activity on voter ID laws that they have evolved from a valence issue into a partisan battle where, with few exceptions, Republicans defend their enactment as a safeguard against fraud while Democrats indict them as the leading tactic for voter suppression. Though the partisan fight over voter ID laws is now common knowledge among political observers, the legislation is not uniform across the states; that is, not all Republican-controlled legislatures have pushed for more restrictive voter ID laws. We argue that a state’s broader electoral and demographic context – including a state’s turnout rate and whether or not it is a presidential battleground state – conditions why some Republican – controlled state legislatures have focused on voter ID laws as a useful political tool to shape the electorate. In an age of highly competitive partisan politics, when neither party can lay claim to a dominant electoral position, voter ID laws constitute an issue that both parties utilize to further their political interests. In short, the voter ID issue is a pawn in the larger partisan game of electoral politics.


Kansas SOS Kobach’s interstate voter registration matching program so unreliable, even Florida has opted out

And Oregon also is no longer sharing its voter data with the Kansas project.

More here: