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The Political Scientist as Expert Witness

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 April 2011

Richard L. Engstrom
Affiliation:
Duke University
Michael P. McDonald
Affiliation:
George Mason University

Extract

Political scientists serve in courtrooms as expert witnesses on many topics related to their professional training: elections, same-sex marriages, employer sanctions for hiring undocumented aliens, school desegregation, political asylum requests, property rights, and racial profiling, among many others. It is not by chance that we—the authors—have chosen to testify as experts in cases concerning elections (see also Cain 1999). Election-related cases compose a large percentage of all cases involving political scientists brought to court: a study of references to expert testimony by political scientists in published federal district court decisions from 1950 through 1989 reports that 61% involved election law issues (Leigh 1991). Our replication of this study for the period of 2000 through December 18, 2010, reveals that 74% of such cases (28 of 38) involved election law issues. These cases involved issues of minority vote dilution, redistricting, alternative election systems (cumulative and limited voting), campaign financing, voting equipment and invalid ballots, voter registration, nominating petition requirements, and a number of other issues.

Type
Symposium
Copyright
Copyright © American Political Science Association 2011

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