Oct. 19, 2022 – Election Day is less than a month away.
They call elections “races,” and we are now officially in the home stretch. But anyone who has ever undertaken a marathon or even a 5K race knows those last few steps can be the most brutal, requiring diligent preparation.
This article provides legal professionals with resources needed to prepare for the final turn of the 2022 election season. These election law resources span the basics for first-time researchers to current awareness tools that keep you updated in this rapidly changing area of law.
Important U.S. Acts and Federal Regulations
Election law is an exciting area for those interested in the ways state and federal laws interact. Elections are administered by the states, but there are several key federal statutes and cases which shape the landscape of how our elections are administered.
Here are some key federal public acts relating to election practices and rights:
Cases on the Supreme Court Docket
Following the passage of each of these Acts, the U.S. Supreme Court issued multiple historic opinions that further laid the groundwork of our current election procedures.
Elizabeth Manriquez is head of Reference and Scholarly Support at the University of Wisconsin Law School Library. She is currently vice president of the Law Librarians Association of Wisconsin (LLAW). LLAW's Public Relations Committee coordinates regular contributions by its members to InsideTrack.
A good database of cases arising from the Voting Rights Acts can be found on Oyez.org. A glance at the docket of the October 2022 Sitting, found on SCOTUSblog, demonstrates the ongoing debates in election law.
Two key cases to follow are:
Federal Government Organizations and Nongovernment Organizations
For more information on the federal government and its role in elections, these government and nongovernment organizations provide both historical and current information as well as links to primary law:
State Statutes and Regulations
As each state is responsible for passing laws and promulgating regulations for the way in which their elections are conducted, it can be difficult to keep track of the many different ways an election can be administered. Here are some resources that aggregate information on state elections, from both free and vendor-based platforms:
Recent Wisconsin Cases / Wisconsin Specific Information
For information about what is happening here in our home state, these two research guides provide a terrific overview of sources, with links to primary and secondary sources:
Hot Topics and Case Tracking
While statutes and regulations lay the groundwork for election administration, the major shifts in voting rights have come from the courts in recent elections. Some keyword terms and reliable databases on these debated issues include:
A fantastic tool for tracking state cases is the Case Tracker from Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law, whose Election Law Program includes several other reliable legal resources.
For more information on three key cases pending in Wisconsin, check out legal writer Jeff M. Brown’s recent InsideTrack article, “Court Decisions Mean Changes for Conduct of 2022 General Election.”
For those wanting to dive deeper into election law, whether for personal or professional pursuits, the State Bar of Wisconsin PINNACLE® offers several seminars available to its members and the public, with CLE credit available:
Resources to Stay Current
There are multiple blogs and podcasts available to those who already have a base knowledge in election law and want to stay apprised of recent developments in a time efficient manner. Some popular ones include:
Where to Learn More
If you are feeling overwhelmed by the resources above or are still unsure where to start, contact a librarian! We are trained to assist patrons with finding and using the best resources for them and their unique legal research topics. Reach out and ask your local law librarian for help with your research, or at these libraries: