Race, Representation, and the Voting Rights Act

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Authors Sophie A Schuit, Jon C. Rogowski
Paper Category
Paper Abstract Despite wide scholarly interest in the Voting Rights Act, surprisingly little is known about how its speciVc provisions aUected Black political representation. In this paper, we draw on theories of electoral accountability to evaluate the eUect of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, the preclearance provision, on the representation of Black interests in the 86th to 105th Congresses. We Vnd that members of Congress who represented jurisdictions subject to the preclearance requirement were substantially more supportive of civil rights-related legislation than legislators who did not represent covered jurisdictions. This result is robust to a wide range of model speciVcations, empirical strategies, and characterizations of key variables, and persists over the entire time period under study. We report further evidence that the eUects of the VRA were stronger in more competitive districts, and when Black voters comprised larger portions of the electorate. Our Vndings have especially important implications given the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Shelby v. Holder. Word Count: 8,420
Date of publication 2017
Code Programming Language R

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