Voter Suppression in a "Post-Racial" Society: Examining Allegations of Voter Disenfranchisement Open Access

Ermilus, Jeffeline (2014)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/mc87pq37m?locale=en
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Abstract

In light of the Supreme Court's 2013 decision to repeal part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, many claim that the window for voter disenfranchisement has been widened. The idea is that past forms of discrimination have not been prohibited; they have merely changed forms to fit into the context of a color-blind, post-racial society. Using data on the elections from 2004-2012, I attempt to support or discredit the idea that voter identification statutes have a deterrent effect on turnout amongst minority populations, particularly African Americans.

In the first part of the analysis, I describe the patterns of provisional ballot rejections on the basis of insufficient identification in the context of states that have enacted restrictive voter identification requirements. For over half of the states which enacted legislation, the frequency of provisional ballot rejections increased in the same year or the year immediately after the adoption of restrictive legislation.

In addition to looking at national trends, I perform a series of regression analyses for the case of Michigan, which rejected the most provisional ballots due to insufficient identification in the 2012 general election. The results suggest that the larger the proportion of African American residents in a county, the more likely provisional ballots are issued and ultimately rejected, supporting the idea that some voter disenfranchisement is occurring in states that impose voter identification restrictions.

Table of Contents

Introduction …………………………………………………………….……………. 1

Voter Suppression in the Context of Critical Race Theory ………….……………..... 5

A History of Voter Suppression …………………………………………….……….. 8

Current State of Voting …………………………………………………………...… 14

Redistricting …………………………………………………………………. 16

Felon Disenfranchisement ……………………………………………………18

Election Day Protocols ……………………………………………………… 22

Voter Identification ……………………………………………..……. 25

Methodology …………………………………………………………………………. 36

Results …………………………………………………………………………………40

Discussion ………………………………………………………………………….…. 45

List of Figures …………………………………………………………….………...... 48

List of Tables …………………………………………………………………….…... 48

Works Cited …………………………………………………………………….……. 49

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