Statistical Evidence of Racially Polarized Voting in the Obama Elections, and Implications for Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act
Citation: 102 Geo L.J. 881 (2014)
Part I begins by describing the persistence of racial bloc voting and discuss- ing why existing assumptions regarding polarization and causality are critical to the current analytical framework used in analyzing cases under Section 2. Part II utilizes past election returns and survey data to probe more deeply into the proclivities and preferences of white and black voters to assess the effects of race on voters’ mental, psychological, and emotional responses to candidates, focusing on the 2008 and 2012 elections. Part III explicates several evidentiary and legal conclusions, returning to the concept of causality. A discussion of the implications for Section 2 explores the conflict inherent in imposing a race-based remedy—the creation of majority–minority single-member districts—due in large part to the outcome of a test that does not properly account for the effect of race on voter behavior.