Professor of Law and Canada Research Chair in Democracy, Constitutionalism, and Electoral Law

Jackman Law Building
78 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5

Tel.: 416-946-7829

Yasmin Dawood, J.D. (Columbia), Ph.D. (Chicago), is Professor of Law and the Canada Research Chair in Democracy, Constitutionalism, and Electoral Law at the Faculty of Law, with a courtesy appointment in the Department of Political Science. She was named a member of the Royal Society of Canada College in 2018. Professor Dawood was awarded the Mewett Award for Teaching Excellence by the Graduating Class of 2020, and she was also awarded the Truth and Reconciliation Teaching Award in 2023. In addition, she was a co-recipient of the 2020 Legal Excellence Award from the South Asian Bar Association.

Professor Dawood specializes in election law, comparative constitutional law, and democratic theory. Her scholarship, which is broadly concerned with improving electoral fairness and democratic governance, has addressed such topics as the right to vote, money in politics, redistricting, constitutional design, political dysfunction, partisanship, corruption, and the oversight of the democratic process by the courts. Her work has been published in leading journals, including the Georgetown Law Journal, NYU Law Review Online, American Review of Political Science, Election Law Journal, ICON International Journal of Constitutional Law, Boston University Law Review, Duke Journal of Constitutional Law & Public Policy, University of Toronto Law Journal, McGill Law Journal, Osgoode Hall Law Journal, Supreme Court Law Review, and the Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, among others. She is the co-editor, with Vicki Jackson, of Constitutionalism and a Right to Effective Government? (Cambridge University Press, 2022). Her work has also appeared in edited volumes, including The Oxford Handbook of the Canadian Constitution (Oxford University Press) and Democracy by the People: Reforming Campaign Finance in America (Cambridge University Press). She was awarded a five-year Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grant for her research on democracy and election law. Her research has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Connaught Foundation, and the Mellon Foundation.

Professor Dawood has testified as an election law expert before the Parliamentary House committee examining The Fair Elections Act Bill C-23, and before the Special Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reform. She has been interviewed on election law issues by various media, including The New York Times, CBC News Network, CBC Radio, The Globe and Mail, National Post, CTV News, The Agenda, Power & Politics, Metro Morning, Toronto Star and The Huffington Post, among others. She regularly presents her work at national and international conferences and workshops. Professor Dawood is a member of the Executive Committee of the International Association of Constitutional Law. She is also a Faculty Associate of the Centre for Constitutional Law and Legal Studies (UBC) and an Associate Member of the International Association of Electoral Law. In addition, she serves on the International Board of Advisors of the Federal Law Review, the Editorial Board of the University of Toronto Law Journal, and the Editorial Board of Global Constitutionalism: Human Rights, Democracy, and the Rule of Law

Professor Dawood received a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago. She also holds a J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she served as an Articles Editor of the Columbia Law Review, and an Honours B.A. in political science from the University of Toronto. She is admitted to the Bar of New York and she practiced law with the firm of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton LLP in New York. Prior to joining the Faculty of Law in 2009, she was a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto. 

See Prof. Dawood's profile, Department of Political Science

Ph.D. - Political Science, University of Chicago
M.A. - Political Science, University of Chicago
J.D. - Columbia Law School
B.A. (Hon.) - University of Toronto
Academic appointments
Canada Research Chair in Democracy, Constitutionalism, and Electoral Law
Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto
Faculty Associate, Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
Associate of Trinity College, University of Toronto
Assistant Professor of Law (2009-2014)
Awards and distinctions
Mewett Award for Teaching Excellence
Truth and Reconciliation Teaching Award
Legal Excellence Award, South Asian Bar Association
Royal Society of Canada, College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists
Canada Research Chair Tier II
SSHRC Insight Grant 2014-2018, University of Toronto
Connaught New Researcher Award, University of Toronto
Connaught Start-Up Award, University of Toronto
SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Chicago
Mellon Doctoral Fellowship, University of Chicago
Chicago University Fellowship, University of Chicago
Young B. Smith Prize, Columbia Law School
Article Editor, Columbia Law Review, Columbia Law School
Selected publications

The Theoretical Foundations of Campaign Finance Regulation, in The Oxford Handbook of American Election Law (Eugene Mazo, ed., Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2024).

Effective Government and the Two Faces of Constitutionalism, in Constitutionalism and a Right to Effective Government? (Vicki C. Jackson & Yasmin Dawood, eds., Cambridge University Press, 2022).

Constructing the Demos: Voter Qualification Law in Comparative Perspective, in Comparative Election Law (James A. Gardner, ed., Edward Elgar, 2022).

Combatting Foreign Election Interference in Elections: Canada's Electoral Ecosystem Approach to Disinformation and Cyber Threats, 20 Election Law Journal 10-31 (2021).

The Right to Vote and Freedom of Expression in Political Process Cases Under the Charter, 100 Supreme Court Law Review 2d 105-141 (2021).

Protecting Elections from Disinformation: A Multifaceted Public-Private Approach to Social Media and Democratic Speech, 16 The Ohio State Technology Law Journal 639-668 (2020).

Election Law Originalism: The Supreme Court's Elitist Theory of Democracy, 64 St. Louis University Law Journal 609-633 (2020).

Equal Participation and Campaign Finance: Comparative Perspectives, in Reforming Campaign Finance in America, Eugene Mazo & Timothy Kuhner, eds. (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2018).

Democratic Rights, in the Oxford Handbook of Constitutional Law, Peter Oliver, Patrick Macklem & Nathalie Des Rosiers, eds. (Oxford University Press, 2017).

The Process of Electoral Reform in Canada: Democratic and Constitutional Constraints, 76 Supreme Court Law Review 353-375 (2016).

The Senate Reference: Constitutional Change and Democracy, 60 McGill Law Journal 737-761 (2015).

Campaign Finance and American Democracy, 18 Annual Review of Political Science 1-20 (2015).

Democracy Divided: Campaign Finance Regulation and the Right to Vote, 89 NYU Law Review Online 17-27 (2014).

Democratic Dysfunction and Constitutional Design, 94 Boston University Law Review 913-937 (2014).

Classifying Corruption, 9 Duke Journal of Constitutional Law & Public Policy 102-132 (2014).

Democracy and the Right to Vote: Rethinking Democratic Rights under the Charter, 51 Osgoode Hall Law Journal 251-295 (2013).

Electoral Fairness and the Law of Democracy: A Structural Rights Approach to Judicial Review, 62 University of Toronto Law Journal 499-561 (2012). 

Democracy and the Problem of the Partisan State, NOMOS LIV: Loyalty (Sanford Levinson, Joel Parker & Paul Woodruff, eds.) 257-291 (2013). 

Democracy and the Freedom of Speech: Rethinking the Conflict Between Liberty and Equality, 26 Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence 293-311 (2013). 

Second-Best Deliberative Democracy and Election Law, 12 Election Law Journal 401-420 (2013). 

The Antidomination Model and the Judicial Oversight of Democracy, 96 Georgetown Law Journal 1411-1485 (2008).  

The New Inequality: Constitutional Democracy and the Problem of Wealth, 67 Maryland Law Review 123-149 (2007). 

Democracy, Power, and the Supreme Court: Campaign Finance Reform in Comparative Context, 4 ICON International Journal of Constitutional Law 269-293 (2006). 




Research areas
Canadian Constitutional Law
Charter of Rights
Comparative Law
Election Law
Judicial Decision-Making
Legal Theory
Political Philosophy and Theory