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Researching Election Law FSU Research Center Fall 2008 Laura Fargo Research Center Intern Key Search Terms Election Law Voters’ Rights Campaign Finance Federal Elections Commission F.E.C. Florida Election Law Law and Politics Election Regulations Election Statutes

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researching election law

ResearchingElection Law

FSU Research Center

Fall 2008

Laura Fargo

Research Center Intern

key search terms
Key Search Terms
  • Election Law
  • Voters’ Rights
  • Campaign Finance
  • Federal Elections Commission
  • F.E.C.
  • Florida Election Law
  • Law and Politics
  • Election Regulations
  • Election Statutes
cornell s legal information institute


Electoral College

Congressional Elections

Changes in Election Law

Campaign Reform

U.S. Constitution

Federal Statutes

Federal Regulations

Federal Judicial Decisions

State Statutes

State Judicial Decisions

State Information

Other Resources

Cornell’sLegal Information Institute
primary authorities federal legislative materials
Primary Authorities:Federal Legislative Materials
  • Thomas
    • THOMAS was launched in January of 1995. The leadership of the 104th Congress directed the Library of Congress to make federal legislative information freely available to the public.
        • Bills, Resolutions
        • Activity in Congress
        • Congressional Record
        • Schedules, Calendars
        • Committee Information
        • Presidential Nominations
        • Treaties
primary authorities gpo access gpoaccess gov
United States Code

The United States Code is the codification by subject matter of the general and permanent laws of the United States

Election related laws can be found in:

Title 2, Chapters 1, 12, 14

Title 3, Chapter 1

Title 18, Chapter 29

Title 26, Chapters 95, 96

Title 36, Chapter 5

Congressional Record

The Congressional Record is the official record of the proceedings and debates of the United States Congress

Code of Federal Regulations

The codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government

Title 11, Ch. 1

Federal Register

The official daily publication for rules, proposed rules, and notices of Federal agencies and organizations, as well as executive orders and other presidential documents

* GPO Access only has documents from around 1994-present. HeinOnline has everything in PDF.

Primary Authorities:GPO Access (
primary authorities federal legislative materials12
Primary AuthoritiesFederal Legislative Materials
  • Help America Vote Act of 2002
    • Public Law 107-252
    • PDF from GPO Access:
    • “To establish a program to provide funds to States to replace punch card voting systems, to establish the Election Assistance Commission to assist in the administration of Federal elections and to otherwise provide assistance with the administration of certain Federal election laws and programs, to establish minimum election administration standards for States and units of local government with responsibility for the administration of Federal elections, and for other purposes.”
primary authorities federal legislative materials13
Primary AuthoritiesFederal Legislative Materials
  • National Voter Registration Act of 1993
    • Public Law 103-31
    • Congress enacted this to enhance voting opportunities for every American. The Act has made it easier for all Americans to register to vote and to maintain their registration.
    • The NVRA allows the Department of Justice to bring civil actions in federal court to enforce its requirements. The Act also gives the responsibility to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to provide States with guidance on the Act, to develop a national mail voter registration form, and to compile reports on the effectiveness of the Act. An amendment in the Help America Vote Act of 2002 transferred the FEC's responsibilities under the Act to the Election Assistance Commission.
primary authorities judicial materials
Primary AuthoritiesJudicial Materials
  • Supreme Court of the United States – Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform cases
    • Site contains:
      • Jurisdictional Statements, Briefs, etc.
      • Amicus Curiae Briefs
      • Oral Arguments
      • Opinions and Orders
secondary authorities legal encyclopedias
Secondary AuthoritiesLegal Encyclopedias
  • Legal encyclopedias are a secondary source for understanding the law. They are an excellent resource for starting research particularly in an unfamiliar area of the law. Usually arranged alphabetically by subject the brief articles will contain citations to case law and statutes relevant to the topic.
    • American Jurisprudence (AMJUR)
      • KF154 .A45 Index (call # for the General Index)
      • Lexis: Secondary Legal  Jurisprudences & Encyclopedias American Jurisprudence 2d
      • Westlaw:
        • Secondary Legal  American Jurisprudence
        • AMJUR database
use online catalogs to find books
Use Online Catalogs to Find Books
  • FSU Libraries Catalog
      • Basic search box located on Research Center’s website
  • netLibrary
      • This database provides access to more than 30,000 recently published e-books, including reference, scholarly, popular, and professional books.
      • You can find this by searching through the A-Z database list on the FSU Libraries website
  • WorldCat
      • This is an online catalog of books and other materials in libraries worldwide. Use it to identify materials held in libraries besides FSU libraries.
      • This can also be found by searching through the A-Z database list
research databases to find newspaper and magazine articles
Research Databases to Find Newspaper and Magazine Articles
  • All of these databases can be found on the Research Center’s website Research Resources Legal Research Databases Law Databases A-Z
  • Academic Search Premier
      • Full text, multi-disciplinary database containing newspaper, magazine, and scholarly, peer-reviewed publications. Also contains indexing and abstracting for all journals in the collection.
  • BNA All
      • A resource of over 90 titles covering legal and regulatory developments in business and government. Many of these resources have an email update service for FSU law faculty and students. Available via wireless and wired connections located within the College of Law building complex.
      • You can subscribe to the Money and Politics Report –
        • Provides daily coverage of campaign finance reform, new lobbying regulations, and government ethics issues at federal, state, and local levels.
research databases to find newspaper and magazine articles21
Research Databases to Find Newspaper and Magazine Articles
  • Congressional Quarterly (CQ) Weekly
      • In depth reports on issues looming on the congressional horizon. Includes bill status, committee and floor activity, debates, and roll-call votes.
  • LexisNexis Academic
      • Provides full text access to articles from newspaper and magazine articles, radio and television transcripts, legal materials, business data, medical and health information, and reference.
research databases for scholarly journal articles
Research Databases for Scholarly Journal Articles
  • Academic Search Premier
      • Full text, multi-disciplinary database containing newspaper, magazine, and scholarly, peer-reviewed publications. Also contains indexing and abstracting for all journals in the collection
      • Beginning with the first journal issue published and ending with the last 2-5 years, this database provides full text back issues of core scholarly journals in economics, political science, and other disciplines.
  • HeinOnline
      • Provides retrospective access to full text law review articles, Federal Register volumes, treaties and other international agreements, opinions of the U.S. Attorney General, and cases from the United States Supreme Court. Earliest issues accessible date back to the mid-1800s.
  • Oxford Journals Online
      • Full text access to many journals published by Oxford University Press.
  • Social Science Research Network (SSRN)
      • This network provides access to over 88,300 abstracts to scholarly working papers in the Social Sciences. Some full text documents are available for download.

Federal Election Law Decisions

U.S. Constitutional Provisions Related to Election Law

Federal Statutes & Regulations

Federal Election Law Web Resources

State Laws Regarding Elections

Election Law Websites

campaign finance websites
Campaign Finance Websites
  • Campaign Finance Information Center
      • Provides tools for journalists investigating money in politics. Also links to current news stories.
      • The Center for Responsive Politics is largely devoted to campaign financing issues and how they impact elections and public policy. Researchers can track how much money is being spent by candidates and who is contributing this money.
  • Federal Election Commission
      • Official website of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) which administers and enforces the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) -- the statute that governs the financing of federal elections. Site provides information on the activities of the FEC and resources on elections and voting and campaign finance law.
  • National Center for Policy Analysis Idea House: Campaign Finance Report
      • Offers an analysis of issues related to campaign finance reform.
  • Political Money Line: Money in Politics Databases
      • Allows users to search campaign contributions databases by name, state, or Political Action Committee. Also provides charts and tables detailing political contributions.
federal election commission fec
Federal Election Commission (FEC)
  • This is the official site of the Federal Election Commission, an independent regulatory agency. This agency administers and enforces the Federal Election Campaign Act, which deals with the financing of federal elections. In addition to information about campaign finance law, this site also is a resource for locating financial disclosures of candidates in federal elections.
federal election commission publications
Federal Election Commission Publications
  • Annual Report of the FEC
  • Campaign Finance Reports & Data
  • Combined Federal/State Disclosure & Election Directory – 2008
  • Federal Election Campaign Laws
bureau of census publications
Bureau of Census Publications
  • Statistical Abstract of the United States, 2000-1996
    • Section 8: Elections
  • Voting and Registration
election law blog
Election Law Blog
  • “The law of politics and the politics of law: election law, campaign finance, legislation, voting rights, initiatives, redistricting, and the Supreme Court nomination process”
  • This blog features daily updates on election law stories from both print and online media. The site’s creator is Prof. Richard Hansen of Loyola Law School (Los Angeles), who is also a co-editor of the peer-reviewed Election Law Journal; the blog also features a number of other law professors as guest bloggers.
    • Can sign up for email updates
    • Can do a basic search of past postings
united states department of justice voting rights
United States Department of JusticeVoting Rights
  • This site provides a great overview of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The site discusses the enactment of the law, as well as the 1970, 1975, and 1982 Amendments to the Act. It also contains a brief history of the events leading up to the enactment of this Act, as well as a comparison of the voter registration rates in several Southern states, broken down by race, from 1965 and 1988.
electoral college
Electoral College
  • This site, from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, provides information about the history and operation of the U.S. Electoral College. The page of Frequently Asked Questions covers much of how the Electoral College works and its role in presidential elections. There are also resources for teachers and state officials with specialized content for their jobs.
florida department of state division of elections
Florida Department of StateDivision of Elections
  • This is the official site for Florida’s Division of Elections, which is part of Florida’s Department of State agency. In addition to information about the administration and enforcement of state election laws, the site also features information about voter registration, issues and candidates for the current election and campaign finance records.
stanford university campaign finance materials
Stanford UniversityCampaign Finance Materials
  • Stanford Law School’s Campaign Finance project site provides extensive information regarding campaign finance. This site has PDF versions of United States Supreme Court cases, federal campaign finance legislation, news and opinion articles regarding campaign finance, and links to various government websites. Its bibliography lists publications on campaign finance written by Stanford Law School faculty.
campaign legal center
Campaign Legal Center
  • This site is the home of the Campaign Legal Center, “a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization which works in the areas of campaign finance and elections, political communication and government ethics.”
  • The site offers a number of primary and secondary resources on election law topics, including copies of court and agency documents, as well as its own analyses of issues.
election law @ mortiz ohio state university
Election Law @ MortizOhio State University
  • The Election Law @ Moritz site is a web publication produced by OSU’s Moritz College of Law. It serves as a current awareness tool for those interested in developments in election law – a broad area of law including laws and litigation about voter registration, voter ID, polling place procedures and workers, recounts and contested elections. It is updated with both news and commentary from the legal faculty at Ohio State
elections vanderbilt university
ElectionsVanderbilt University
  • Compiled by the Government Documents Roundtable (GODORT), this is a gateway site to information on elections, voting, and campaign finance.
irwin mann voting democracy virtual library
Irwin Mann Voting & Democracy Virtual Library
  • Sponsored by New York University, this portal provides access to a wealth of information on voting and election studies.
elections 2008 university of michigan
Elections 2008University of Michigan
  • Comprehensive guide to 2008 election resources that covers areas such as candidates, campaigns and campaign finance, policy areas, and election and voting statistics.