The Temporal Dimension of Voting Rights

Article — Volume 93, Issue 2

93 Va. L. Rev. 361
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Modern voting rights scholarship agrees on one thing: voting rights are in large part aggregate rights. Accordingly, one cannot evaluate voting rights claims, or the fairness of the electoral system, without establishing the boundaries of appropriate aggregation. This framework has led the literature to focus on spatial aggregation. That is, commentators concentrate on when it is appropriate to aggregate across persons located in different places to determine the fairness (or constitutionality) of a voting rule. Almost entirely overlooked, however, is the possibility of temporal aggregation. To evaluate the fairness of a voting rule, one must also pick a time period across which to aggregate the collective treatment of individual voters. This Article explores the temporal dimension of voting rights, showing that temporal aggregation issues play a central but unexamined role in many voting rights disputes, including the partisan gerrymandering cases recently decided by the Supreme Court. In addition, the Article highlights the importance of temporal aggregation for a number of concrete disputes in voting rights theory and doctrine. Understanding the temporal dimension of voting rights expands the available strategies for incorporating minority voices into legislative assemblies, provides a new perspective on the debates over partisan gerrymandering, and helps reconcile disagreements over the appropriate role of competition in the electoral process.

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  Volume 93 / Issue 2  

Transparency and Determinacy in Common Law Adjudication: A Philosophical Defense of Explanatory Economic Analysis

By Jody S. Kraus
93 Va. L. Rev. 287

The Temporal Dimension of Voting Rights

By Adam B. Cox
93 Va. L. Rev. 361

Mens Rea and the Cost of Ignorance

By Assaf Hamdani
93 Va. L. Rev. 415

Authorized Generics: A Prescription for Hatch-Waxman Reform

By Tom Chen
93 Va. L. Rev. 459