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About us

This year marks the fortieth anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which allows minority voters to sue local and state government to enforce the right to vote and participate in the political process. Four decades after their original enactment, the non-permanent provisions of the VRA (including the Section 5 preclearance requirement) are once again set to expire if not re-authorized. To decide the future of these provisions, Congress needs information about the past and present status of minority participation in the political process.

The Voting Rights Initiative (“VRI”) at the University of Michigan Law School was created to help address this need and help inform the nationwide discussion on voting rights now under way.  A cooperative research venture involving 100 students working under faculty direction by University of Michigan Law Professor Ellen Katz set out to produce a detailed portrait of litigation brought since 1982, under Section 2, the core permanent provision of the Voting Rights Act.  The Final Report evaluates the results of this survey of judicial findings of discrimination in voting. This website presents the data set of this survey in a searchable form. The aim of this report, the accompanying website, and the project as a whole is to contribute to a critical understanding of current opportunities for effective political participation on the part of the racial and language minorities the Voting Rights Act seeks to protect. As we continue to update our data, we welcome suggestions however large or small for improvement. Thank you.

The Voting Rights Initiative of the Michigan Election Law Project



Margaret Aisenbrey, Anna Baldwin, Krista Caner, Emma Cheuse, Kyle Faget, Joel Flaxman, Alaina Fotiu-Wojtowicz, Adam Gitlin, Dana Kaersvang, Elizabeth Liebschutz, Daniel Pearlberg, Elizabeth Ryan, Jeremy Suhr, Rachel Warnick, Anna Weisbrodt, Sarah Wohlford


Krista Caner, David Jones, Anna Weisbrodt


Anna Baldwin, Kristen Boike, Sarah Bookbinder, Jennifer Carter, Natalia Cortez, Rachel Dobkin, Bernard Eskandari, Alaina Fotiu- Wojtowicz, Akilah Green, Sonah Lee, Benjamin Potter, Jeremy Schwartz, Rebecca Teitelbaum, Rebecca Torres McNeill, Laura Yockey  


Bethany Ace, Margaret Aisenbrey, Lara Anthony, Sosun Bae, Adam Blumenkrantz, Kristen Boike, Marisa Bono, Adrienne Brooks, Timothy Caballero, Lucas Caldwell-McMillan, Krista Caner, Ramsey Chamie, Joann Chang, Daniel DeLorenzo, Kyle Faget, Esther Farkas, Thomas Ferrone, Joel Flaxman, Matthew Fox, Mitoshi Fujio-White, Amanda Garcia, Adam Gitlin, Claire Goldberg, Jenna Goldenberg, Arielle Greenbaum, Kyra Hazilla, Jennifer Hill, Sarah Hinchliff, Millicent Hoffman, Neal Jagtap, David Jones, Shari Katz, Craig Komanecki, Poonam Kumar, Joseph Lake, Jeffrey Landau, Grace Lee, Michael Lee, Julianna Lee, Elizabeth Liebschutz, Zachariah Lindsey, Alexandra Magill,Melissa Manning,Megan Mardy, Vannesa Martinez, Kerry-Ann McLean, Mary Mock, Jaime Olin, David Osei, Daniel Pearlberg, Amanda Pedvin, Amanda Perwin, Benjamin Potter, Jennifer Reid, Eunice Rho, Elizabeth Richards, Abby Rubinson, Elizabeth Rucker, Elizabeth Ryan, David Sack, Monica Saxena, Elizabeth Seger, Maneesh Sharma, Karen Shen, Elizabeth Simson, Mia Solvesson, Jessica Stoddard, Jeremy Suhr, Daniel Tenny, Cathy Tran, Genevieve Vose, Kyle Walther, Thomas Ward, Rachel Warnick, Anna Weisbrodt, Jamie Weitzel, Larissa Werhnyak, Cyrus Wilkes, Sarah Wohlford, Joe Wright


Thomas Ferrone, Nicholas George, Adam Gitlin, Naomi Goldberg, Christopher Kirkwood-Watts, Shelley Merkin, Molly Moeser, Katherine Redman, Taylor Rielly, Amethyst Smith, Susan West 


The Voting Rights Initiative (VRI) is the product of the extraordinary efforts of many people. We are particularly grateful to University of Michigan Law School Dean Evan Caminker and Associate Dean Steven Croley, Deans of Students David Baum and Charlotte Johnson, Michael Barr, Amy Bishop, Daniel Halberstam, Mary Lebert, Margaret Leary, MaryAnn Sarosi, Hannah Smotrich, Sandy Zeff, and Shawn DeLoach, Kurt Kaiser, Tara Perry, Diana Perpich and the entire Sitemaker team at the University of Michigan, Westlaw, LexisNexis and Toree Randall, and web designers Jeff Christy and Travis Schau. VRI also thanks the Michigan Election Law Project for supporting this research.
 VRI benefited immeasurably from guidance given by several experts in the voting rights field: Debo Adegbile, Chandler Davidson, Julie Fernandes, Jon Greenbaum, Danny Levitas, Peyton McCrary, Laughlin McDonald, and Nina Perales. For financial support, VRI thanks the Law School Fund and the Office of Public Service at the University of Michigan Law School, and the Earl Warren Institute for Race, Ethnicity and Diversity, Boalt Hall School of Law, U.C. Berkeley.