Graduation Year

Spring 2014

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis


Politics and International Relations

Reader 1

Mike Thurman

Reader 2

Amanda Hollis-Brusky

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Rights Information

© 2014 Megan C. Raymond


In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in instances of Republican-dominated state legislatures proposing changes to election law that some see as protecting electoral integrity and others understand as intended to suppress votes of traditionally Democratic constituencies. This thesis is a detailed collection of the rationales used to justify these changes, as examined through a case study of North Carolina’s enactment of the omnibus Voter Information Verification Act of 2013 (VIVA). By also including the arguments proffered during the legislative process by opponents of the law, and after evaluating the merits of the arguments on both sides, I find the rationales used to justify the law’s provisions to be unconvincing and misleading. This study confirms the speculation that new election law restrictions are first and foremost a Republican attempt to gain partisan advantage. Given this conclusion, I offer suggestions as to what factors might eventually shift the current era of election law legislation from one of restrictions, to one focused on creating efficient, accessible, modernized electoral systems that inspire citizen confidence regardless of partisanship.