I am a PhD Candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles. I serve as a Senior Policy Fellow at the Voting Rights Project, the flagship project of the UCLA Latino Policy & Politics Initiative (LPPI). Previously, I held an appointment as a research fellow at the UCLA Institute for Inequality and Democracy at Luskin and as the Voting and Redistricting Fellow at Common Cause. I was born and raised in San Bernardino, California.
I am interested in teaching and scholarship that investigates the ways in which institutions exacerbate racial inequality both historically and currently. My research agenda examines American politics, race and ethnicity, the Voting Rights Act and voting rights, election administration and election law, state legislative politics, and quantitative methods.
I am currently working on my dissertation project, which examines how restrictive voting laws have been utilized by elites as electoral strategy in a diversifying electorate. I argue that voter ID laws are elite driven devices used to exclude voters, and I investigate how these laws have evolved into strict requirements today, as well as legislators’ intention in supporting and implementing them. For my project, I assemble archival sources, state legislator data, and a database of bills. First, I examine archived sources to understand how voter ID laws developed from other discriminatory tests and devices. Second, I examine why states pass and implement these laws, including what demographic and electoral conditions make legislators more likely to author, sponsor, and/or support these policies, and what conditions similarly make legislators more likely to propose and support amendments that make these laws either more strict or less strict. Many scholars today examine voter ID laws through the lens of voter fraud and partisanship, but I argue that this does not acknowledge 150 years of targeted voter suppression against Black people, Latinos, and immigrants. After Shelby v Holder (2013) struck down a key portion of the Voting Rights Act, restrictive voting laws have become more common and will continue to be implemented widely for the foreseeable future.
Prior to pursuing a doctoral degree at UCLA, I graduated from the University of California, Riverside (UCR) with a B.A. in Political Science/Public Service. During my undergraduate education, I worked as a research assistant in the Department of Political Science and served as a Mellon Advancing Intercultural Studies Fellow at the Center for Ideas and Society.