Congressional Research Service. September 20, 2013.
Minor and major changes have occurred in campaign finance policy since 2002, when Congress substantially amended campaign finance law via the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA). The Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. FEC and a related lower-court decision, SpeechNow.org v. FEC, arguably represent the most fundamental changes to campaign finance law in decades. Citizens United lifted a previous ban on corporate (and union) independent expenditures advocating election or defeat of candidates. SpeechNow permitted unlimited contributions to such expenditures and facilitated the advent of super PACs. Although campaign finance policy remains the subject of intense debate and public interest, there have been few legislative or regulatory changes to respond to the 2010 court rulings. This report considers these and other developments in campaign finance policy and comments on areas of potential conflict and consensus.
http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R41542.pdf [PDF format, 28 pages]
Congressional Research Service. September 18, 2013.
This report provides an historical background for voter registration reform and the NVRA, a description of the major aspects of the act, a discussion of the implementation and post-implementation actions, and a catalog of subsequent efforts to amend or repeal the act.
http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R40609.pdf [PDF format, 39 pages]
Pew Research Hispanic Center. June 3, 2013.
A record 11.2 million Latinos voted in the 2012 presidential election, but Latinos’ voter turnout rate continues to lag other groups significantly, according to an analysis of new Census Bureau data by the Pew Research Center. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
http://www.pewhispanic.org/files/2013/05/the-latino-electorate_2013-06.pdf [PDF format, 17 pages].
Center for American Progress. May 14, 2013.
According to the Census Bureau’s figures, 66.2 percent of eligible black voters cast a ballot in 2012, compared with 64.1 percent of eligible non-Hispanic white voters. Moreover, an estimated 2 million fewer white Americans voted in the election, while about 1.8 million more blacks surged to the polls. And, as exit polls suggested, an estimated 90-plus percent of black voters chose President Obama over Gov. Romney. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Congressional Research Service. May 10, 2013.
There is a consensus that the presidential public financing program is antiquated and offers insufficient benefits to attract the most competitive candidates. No major candidate accepted public funds in 2012. In 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama became the first person, since the public financing program’s inception, elected President without accepting any public funds. For some, these developments signal an urgent need to save the public campaign financing program that has existed since the 1970s; for others, they suggest that the program is unnecessary.
http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R41604.pdf [PDF format, 6 pages].