Carter-Baker Election Report: A ‘Bait and Switch’ for Voters Hoping for Real Reform

Attention: News desks, national and political reporters

Contact: Molly Colin 510-642-4143

Berkeley, CA–The Carter-Baker Commission on Election Reform Report is ultimately a “bait and switch” for voters seeking real reform because the commission failed to advance policy changes that will significantly address many of the voting irregularities experienced in the 2004 election, according to a preliminary analysis of the report released today by the recently launched Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity and Diversity at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall).

Co-authors of the Warren Institute analysis are Boalt Hall Dean and Warren Institute Director Christopher Edley, Jr.; Jocelyn Benson, Assistant Professor of Law, Wayne State University, Adjunct Faculty Fellow, The Warren Institute; and Ana Henderson, Fellow, the Warren Institute.

The analysis lauded the report for identifying five important “pillars” for electoral reform but expressed concern that the commission “failed to support or omitted entirely” several reforms that research indicates are vital to enable such “pillars.”

“The commission’s well-meaning though incomplete reform agenda will founder because through its solicitous requests for state attention it offers aid and comfort to proponents of states rights, who resist an effective Congressional role in securing the quality of elections; and because, in Pollyanna fashion, it confuses legislating an aspiration with enacting enforceable reforms,” said the Warren Institute in its analysis.

The recently launched Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity and Diversity is a multidisciplinary, collaborative venture to produce research, research-based policy prescriptions, and curricular innovation on issues of racial and ethnic justice in California and the nation. The institute’s mission is to engage the most difficult topics related to civil rights, race and ethnicity in a wide range of legal and public policy subject areas, providing valuable intellectual capital to public and private sector leaders, the media and the general public, while advancing scholarly understanding. Central to its methods will be concerted efforts to build bridges connecting the world of research with the world of civic action and policy debate so that each informs the other, while preserving the independence, quality and credibility of the academic enterprise.

“A great public university law school has a special responsibility to confront the toughest, most critical issues facing our society,” said Dean Edley. “In naming the institute after an alumnus, Boalt Hall honors the legacy of Brown v. Board of Education and other contributions of the Warren Court to the continuing struggle for racial reconciliation and justice.”

The Warren Institute continues and expands upon Dean Edley’s work at the Harvard Civil Rights Project, which he co-founded in 1997, and it will collaborate both with that acclaimed program and with scholars and research centers across UC Berkeley and elsewhere.


Available for media interviews:
Dean Christopher Edley, Jr.: 510-642-0259
Jocelyn Benson 313-623-9863
Ana Henderson 510-643-6307