Sunday, December 22, 2013

States With Higher Black Turnout Are More Likely To Restrict Voting

UMass Amherst researchers reported this week in The Monkey Cage blog at the Washington Post, States with higher black turnout are more likely to restrict voting.

"In a new article, we examined the dominant explanations (and accusations) advanced by both the right and left, as well as the factors political scientists know are important for understanding state legislative activity.  We began with no assumptions about the veracity of any claim.  What we found was that restrictions on voting derived from both race and class.  The more that minorities and lower-income individuals in a state voted, the more likely such restrictions were to be proposed. Where minorities turned out at the polls at higher rates the legislation was more likely enacted.

More specifically, restrictive proposals were more likely to be introduced in states with larger African-American and non-citizen populations and with higher minority turnout in the previous presidential election.  These proposals were also more likely to be introduced in states where both minority and low-income turnout had increased in recent elections.  A similar picture emerged for the actual passage of these proposals. States in which minority turnout had increased since the previous presidential election were more likely to pass restrictive legislation.

The turnout of blacks and the poor was not the only factor, of course.  Restrictive laws passed more frequently as the proportion of Republicans in the legislature increased or when a Republican governor was elected.  Most of the voter restrictions adopted in this period, 83 percent, were passed by Republican-controlled state legislatures.  Restrictive laws were especially likely to pass when states both had larger Republican legislative majorities and had become increasingly competitive in the previous presidential election.  Meanwhile, states that had become increasingly competitive but had larger Democratic majorities were less likely to pass restrictive laws."


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