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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Happy Birthday America: The Census is Intact, for Now

With news that the Trump administration has abandoned its attempt to place a citizenship question on the 2020 Decennial Census, the people of the United States received the best birthday gift they could hope for, averting a xenophobic and racist effort to disenfranchise millions of people of color by corrupting the nation’s largest civic event. Today we can all celebrate knowing that the oath that US Marshals first took in 1790, to complete “a just and perfect enumeration” of all persons, remains intact, thanks to the efforts of thousands of scientists, legal experts, and advocates. However, undercounts resulting from budget negligence and disinformation campaigns remain a serious threat to the integrity of the Census. Come 2020, we have to be more vigilant than ever to ensure that every voice is counted in order to stop the further erosion of our democratic infrastructure. Read more >

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The Supreme Court’s Partisan Gerrymandering Decision is Justice Scalia’s Last Laugh

Democratic restoration now depends on the people alone. Read more >

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Let’s Stop Letting Minority Rule Give Us Science Fiction Abortion Laws

Missouri is still set to become the first state in over 45 years to not offer abortion as a part of healthcare. Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi have recently joined other states in not only limiting access to abortion (relying on misinformation), but also challenging its constitutionality. This is the latest phase of an anti-abortion strategy based on pseudoscience, which began after 2010, when conservative forces swept into power in numerous state legislatures. Since then, hundreds of restrictions on abortion have been passed, ranging from extended waiting periods, insurance restrictions and restrictions on clinics and doctors, to these more recent bills that ban abortion as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Read more >

Photo: Elizabeth Greenwald/CC BY-SA 4.0 (Wikimedia)
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Photo: Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr

Court Records Reveal Plan to Use Census for Racial Discrimination

Just weeks before the Supreme Court will determine the constitutionality of placing a citizenship question on the 2020 Census, newly released documents from a federal trial demonstrate that Trump administration officials falsely testified about the Justice Department’s motives and justification for adding the question, a decision that has been roundly criticized by the nation’s leading scientific and civil rights organizations. The documents reveal that renowned and recently deceased redistricting expert Thomas Hofeller played a direct role in advocating for a Census citizenship question that would provide data needed to implement racially discriminatory gerrymanders using citizen-only redistricting populations.

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Photo: Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr
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Equality, More or Less: How the Supreme Court Might Fix Gerrymandering

This week the Supreme Court prepared to make voting rights history ahead of the 2020 Census redistricting cycle. Justices heard oral arguments in two partisan gerrymandering cases: a Republican gerrymander in North Carolina (Rucho v Common Cause) and a Democratic gerrymander in Maryland (Lamone v Benesik). Plaintiffs in these cases are seeking relief and a standard to rein in state legislative attempts to maximize partisan advantage through the manipulation of district boundaries.

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