“Here’s Proof the Voting Rights Act Helped Boost Black Political Representation”

Atlantic Wire:

Nearly half a century after the VRA’s passage, critics had begun to argue that the law had successfully served its purpose (see: America’s first black president, and these demographics that elected him), and that states like Texas and Alabama no longer deserved to be tarred by their past intolerance.

A very interesting new study to be published in The Journal of Politics makes clear, however, that Section 5 of the VRA—which is now effectively irrelevant—played a major role in boosting black political representation, and that its impact was ongoing. The study’s authors, Paru R. Shah of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Melissa J. Marschall of Rice University, and Anirudh V. S. Ruhil of Ohio University, examined the racial makeup of city councils across the country between 1981 and 2006.

In that time, blacks made the largest gains on city councils in those areas covered by Section 5.


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