Call for Submissions - Rutgers University Law Review 2022 Symposium - Voting Rights Reform: the 26th Amendment, Youth Power, and the Potential for a Third Reconstruction

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Voting Rights Reform: the 26th Amendment, Youth Power, and the Potential for a Third Reconstruction


2021 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Twenty-Sixth Amendment, which lowered the voting age from twenty-one to eighteen and outlawed age-based discrimination in ballot access. By July 1, 1971, the Amendment was ratified by 38 states in a record-setting 100 days. Youth activists and civil rights proponents banded together to accomplish this feat during a confluence of reform movements now called the Second Reconstruction.

Fifty years later, state legislatures across the country once again threaten the voting rights of young people and communities of color. State legislators have already introduced 400 voter suppression bills in 2021 across 49 states, and 18 states enacted 30 of those bills into law. Many of these voter suppression bills specifically target young voters and voters of color, despite new election modernization trends in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 global pandemic. Against a backdrop of national protests and violence, some scholars suggest that we may be entering a new crucial period of reform—a Third Reconstruction.

The 2022 Symposium of the Rutgers University Law Review will explore the legislative history of the Twenty-Sixth Amendment, the appropriate standards of review that courts should use when reviewing challenges to youth voting restrictions, and a data-driven perspective on the youth vote and the specific voting mechanisms that empower the youth vote. We invite scholars of law and legal ethics, election data science, social sciences, and the humanities; current and former lawmakers; legal practitioners; and current and former youth organizers to submit paper proposals for inclusion in the symposium issue of the Law Review. Authors of accepted papers will be invited to present at the Symposium conference, which will be held in April 2022.

Topics for the conference might include, but are not confined to, the following:

·      Legal challenges to age-based discrimination today and the appropriate standard of review for 26th Amendment challenges.

·      The relevance of the Twenty-Sixth Amendment today.

·      The efficacy or methodology of the original push for ratification, including the involvement of youth activists or civil rights leaders.

·      The potential of a Third Reconstruction, or the current push for ratification of new constitutional reform, including constitutional amendments.  

·      How youth and youth of color vote today, including empirical studies of youth voting through legislative initiatives like same-day registration, early voting, or voting by mail.

·      Legislation or election administration practices that encourage and/or restrict youth voters and voters of color.

·      The power of youth and youth leadership, past or present, in social justice or political movements, and the role of fusion politics.

Submission Procedure:

Email proposals as a Word or PDF document to the Rutgers University Law Review at by 11:59 PM on October 31, 2021.

Proposals must include:

  1. Your name and contact information;
  2. Title of the proposed article;
  3. A brief (one-page maximum) description of the article; and
  4. A current CV

Authors may submit more than one proposal.


Authors who submit a proposal will be notified by November 19, 2021, if their proposal has been accepted.

Publication Opportunity:

Final drafts of accepted articles must be submitted by 11:59 PM on March 31, 2022. Acceptance for publication of any paper, proposal, or response to a presenter is at the Rutgers University Law Review's sole discretion.  

Presentation Opportunity

Authors selected for publication will be invited to present their papers at the Symposium conference, which will be held in April 2022. Articles need not be finalized to be selected as a participant in the Symposium.