Campaigns and elections

The Future of the VRA: Six Findings from Polisci to Keep in Mind

Jul 1 '13

In my post at Wonkblog this week, I reviewed several of the findings from political science research that bear on how the formula in Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act could or should be revised in the wake of the Shelby County decision.  This includes what Bernard Fraga wrote about here as well as findings from amicus briefs and other relevant analyses.  Here’s the conclusion:

Taken together, these findings could easily be leveraged in defense of Section 4, as many have done.  At the same time, these facts do not necessarily imply that the exact formula should stay the same in perpetuity.  But they do suggest that a new formula could defensibly include many of the areas that were covered by Section 4 of the VRA as of 1964.

In other words, times have changed, but perhaps they haven’t yet changed enough.