Michael Latner

Kendall Science Fellow

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Michael Latner is a Kendall Voting Rights Fellow with the Center for Science and Democracy. His research focuses on political representation and electoral systems. His most recent work has focused on redistricting and gerrymandering in the United States, and the impact of electoral administrative law on political participation. Michael holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California at Irvine, and is an associate professor of political science at California State Polytechnic University, where he recently directed the Masters in Public Policy program. See Michael's full bio.

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Proposed Legislation Would Prevent Census Tampering

In anticipation of this week’s announced plans for the Commerce Department to add a citizenship question to the regular form on the 2020 Census, a group of legislators have proposed a bill designed to protect the scientific integrity of the Census from late additions. Read more >

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Photo: National Archives

Experts Warn: Census is Under Attack

Last night, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross released a notification that the 2020 Census would include a citizenship question on the regular form, which goes to every household in the United States. This was prompted by a December request from the Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Department of Justice, which they claimed was necessary for enforcing the Voting Rights Act. Read more >

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Pseudoscience on Trial: The Spectacular Fall of President Trump’s Voter Fraud Thesis

On January 3, 2017, President Trump claimed that there was “substantial evidence” of voter fraud in the 2016 election, enough to have denied him a popular vote victory. The substance of this now infamous claim, that millions of non-citizens committed voter fraud, was examined closely in the just-concluded trial of Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State, current gubernatorial candidate, and co-chair of the Electoral “Integrity” Commission that the president established, then abruptly dissolved when it faced legal accountability. Read more >

Photo: Erik (HASH) Hersman/CC BY 2.0 (Flickr)
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Photo: Denise Cross Photography/Flickr

The Science of Voting Rights + An Interview with Matt Dunlap

When Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap agreed to serve on President Trump’s “Election Integrity” commission, election scholars, myself included, roundly criticized him for legitimizing a nakedly partisan attempt to indulge the President’s fantasies about why he failed to win the popular vote. Mr. Dunlap’s pursuit of transparency is a crucial example of how a commitment to science-based policy and integrity can protect citizens from government agencies betraying the public interest. In early February, I sat down with Dunlap for an extended interview. We discussed his decision to serve, his experience as a member of the Commission, and the events that led to his lawsuit against the Commission. Read more >

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Pennsylvania’s New Congressional Map is Fair, But Reveals Fundamental Tradeoffs in Institutional Choice

Earlier this week, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court released its much-awaited Congressional redistricting plan to replace a 2012 Republican-drawn plan which it recently ruled to be an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. The new plan is unquestionably more fair, ensuring at least two more seats for Democratic voters who currently hold only 5 of Pennsylvania’s 18 seats, despite composing about half of the statewide electorate. However, the new plan, and others proposed over the last week, reveal a fundamental limitation of our electoral system that should concern not just the Democratic Party, but anyone concerned about political equality. Read more >

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