Last week John K. Tanner visited William and Mary Law to talk to students about his 40+ years of experience in election law. Mr. Tanner is the former Chief of the voting section of the DOJ, having joined the section in 1976. Most recently, Mr. Tanner represented the Texas Legislative Black Caucus in the recent Texas redistricting suit.
Mr. Tanner met with students to discuss the complicated issues behind the Texas redistricting plan and the subsequent law suits. The suit represented by Mr. Tanner, along with similar suits filed, led to the Supreme Court’s approval of a federal court drawn plan late last month. Redistricting in Texas was taken out of the hands of the legislature after protests that the plan unlawfully discriminated against minorities.
Mr. Tanner also gave advice for law students who are interested in election law. His first piece of advice was to get involved in elections in any way possible, whether working on a campaign or helping at a polling place on Election day. Mr. Tanner also advised students not to discount election law jobs in the government. He recommended that students looking to work in election law, especially those who would like to stay non-partisan, should apply to the Voting Section of the Department of Justice.