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Latner named UCS Kendall Fellowship: Voting Rights

Mike Latner, Cal Poly Political Science

Since 2012, more than 20 states have implemented more restrictive voter eligibility, identification and access laws. This fall, the Supreme Court of the United States will be hearing several cases to reevaluate standards for assessing whether gerrymandering, the practice of drawing electoral districts to advantage some groups over others, violates constitutionally protected voting rights. Amidst these constitutional controversies, this fall Associate Professor Mike Latner will join the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) in Washington, D.C., to serve as the Kendall Voting Rights Fellow at its Center for Science and Democracy. The fellowship is designed to strengthen and expand UCS collaboration with new partners in the advancement of evidence-based election policy, including partnerships with voting rights advocates, civic technologists, and other behavioral scientists.

As the Voting Rights Kendall Fellow, Latner will conduct meta-analyses of social science research around voting rights and redistricting to identify gaps in existing research and data; undertake original analyses that inform how voter disenfranchisement impacts UCS’s ability to achieve its strategic goals on climate, security, food and environmental justice; take efforts to assess how technology and behavioral science can reduce voter disenfranchisement; detail how voter disenfranchisement affects groups that are most vulnerable to current environmental and public health threats; and serve as a spokesperson for the UCS Center for Science and Democracy and the Kendall Fellows program. 

“It is very exciting to be doing the science of democracy at this critical moment in the history of U.S. voting rights. With so much happening across the states and in the courts, there is a window of opportunity to apply the best science that we have to address our democratic crisis,” said Latner. “We need to be able to measure and assess the impact of laws that limit and expand access to the ballot, develop scientific and judicable standards to use in court, and assess the impact of partisan and racial electoral bias on the right to vote, as well as the policy outcomes that shape our environment and quality of life.”

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