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Title 52 Voting and Elections: A New USC Title (and more on the way)

A new title has been added to the United States Code. The new title, Title 52 Voting and Elections, contains Code sections relating to campaign finance laws, voting rights, and elections, which were transferred from Title 2 and Title 42. The dispositions of sections from Titles 2 and 42 to Title 52 are presented on the website of the Office of the Law Revision Counsel (OLRC) in an Editorial Reclassification Table. The OLRC states that “[n]o statutory text is altered. The provisions are merely being relocated from one place to another in the Code” and that “[t]he transfers are necessary and desirable to create a well organized, coherent structure for this body of law and to improve the overall organization” of the Code.

The addition of Title 52 is part of a larger project to add several titles to the Code, transferring laws from various existing titles to several new titles, with the intent of enacting these new titles as “positive law.” The OLRC explains that “[a] positive law title of the Code is a title that has been enacted as a statute. To enact the title, a positive law codification bill is introduced in Congress. The bill repeals existing laws on a certain subject and restates those laws in a new form – a positive law title of the Code.” To date, twenty-six titles of the fifty-two titles of the Code have been enacted into positive law (source here) with the remaining titles being non-positive law. If a title has not been enacted into positive law, cite the session laws (Statutes at Large) if the language in the Code title “differs materially from the language in the session laws.” Bluebook, R12.2(c).  For an extensive discussion by the OLRC of positive law titles and the Code see here.

The new titles in process are: Title 53 Small Business; Title 54 National Park System; Title 55 Environment. The OLRC has drafted bills to accomplish the enactment of the new titles as positive law. The bill to enact Title 54, H.R. 1068, has passed the House and has been referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. The bill for Title 52 was drafted but has not been acted upon by Congress. The OLRC moved ahead and made the transition as an Editorial Reclassification.

The new Title 52, effective September 1, 2014, is available online at the website of the Office of the Law Revision Counsel and the new citation should be used, according to the Office. For the printed versions of the Code, the transfers will be effective with supplement II of the 2012 edition of the United States Code. 

By Spencer L. Simons

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