When Courts Shouldn’t Take the Initiative: Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, Initiative Petitions, and Operation King’s Dream

This Note argues that interpreting section 2 to exclude initiative proposals during their circulation phase is the only way to avoid insurmountable statutory construction problems and constitutional objections. It grounds the theoretical discussion of the VRA in an analysis of how the court applied section 2 in Operation King’s Dream. Part I provides the legal landscape of a section 2 claim, including relevant legislative history and the essential elements of a successful claim. Part II contends that because no voting takes place during the petition phase of a proposal, petition circulation can neither deny nor abridge the right to vote. Part III argues that interpreting section 2 so that it applies to acts of private citizens would eliminate the state action requirement, thus rendering section 2 unconstitutional.