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Articles & Reports

​​Former RJI Faculty Director Manoj Mate

Felony Disenfranchisement and Voting Rights Restoration in the States” was published in the Nevada Law Journal  in 2022.  The article analyzes the legal, political and policy dimensions of state level efforts to restore voting rights for persons with felony convictions through popular initiatives and state legislation and civil rights litigation. It analyzes the latest wave of state restrictions on voting rights of persons with felony convictions within a broader historical context and suggests these recent restrictions are yet another form of circumvention of constitutional commitments to fundamental rights and equality. The article also analyzes how recent state level reforms restoring voting rights of persons with felony convictions illustrate the need to look beyond conventional partisan or blue-red state divisions, as some progress has been made in conservative states with Republican majorities. By analyzing state political dynamics and particular institutional structures of governance in the regulation of voter qualifications, the article reveals that some progress on voting rights restoration is possible, even in states with Republican majorities or Republican leadership. Based on this analysis, the article highlights the significant challenges and obstacles facing voting rights litigation, and the need for broader strategies related to administrative reform and transparency initiatives and political mobilization at the federal and state level.​

Former RJI Fellow Nathan Fleming

Strategies to Build Racial Equity in Land Use & Zoning” was published in the Spring 2023 edition of the Harvard Kennedy School Anti-Racism Policy Journal.  The essay builds on existing scholarship by surveying and analyzing innovative approaches to build racial equity into zoning and land use decisions that are being implemented in jurisdictions nationwide. It also makes a set of policy recommendations for jurisdictions to strengthen their approach to racial equity in land use and zoning. As analysis of this area is limited, Fleming’s essay contributes by critically engaging with the ongoing work to address the legacy of racial subordination and marginalization in land use policies.

Former Student Research Assistant Jack McNeil (JD ’24) 

Report: Looking to the Voting Rights Acts of New York, California, Oregon, Washington, and Virginia as Models for the Illinois Voting Rights Acts (Spring 2023) provides an overview of different state approaches to “voting rights acts.” These state voting rights acts often supplement the protections that voters have under the federal Voting Rights Act (federal “VRA”), particularly as it relates to vote dilution of protected classes (based on race, color, or membership in a language minority) during redistricting. In particular, he examines the voting rights of acts of New York, California, Oregon, Washington, and Virginia, as each of these states have enacted legislation that provide for vote dilution cause of action for voters of color in at-large elections and makes it easier for plaintiffs to prevail in their claims.​​