While Chief Justice John Roberts cited data on voter registration and voter turnout in the majority opinion that struck down Section 4, explicit vote denial is no longer the central focus of a majority of Department of Justice preclearance reviews. Rather, the focus today is on what Congress and the Courts have called second generation discrimination in which minority votes are diluted and made less effective than those cast by Whites. In their decision Tuesday, the majority ignored evidence of vote dilution, even as extensive social science research documents high rates of voting inequality faced by African Americans and Latinos in jurisdictions fully covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
After studying census records from 2000 to 2010, voting records from 2000 to 2012, public opinion data, lawsuits about the Voting Rights Act and all relevant state legislation in recent years, Crayton, Barreto and the other scholars strongly disagree.
Their research found “clear and statistically significant evidence” that discrimination is still widespread today, though often in different forms, and even remains more widespread in Section 5-covered jurisdictions than elsewhere.