Demographic Perspectives on the Voting Rights Act

by Peter A. Morrison

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This paper examines several demographic constraints on implementing the Voting Rights Act and explores their implications. Increasingly, cities and other local jurisdictions will become multiethnic in population makeup, introducing new concerns about (1) the new arithmetic of minority empowerment, (2) the characteristics of single-member districts for remedying vote dilution, and (3) the official designations of race and ethnicity and the ethnic Balkanization they may invite. The paper outlines these concerns and examines the technical demographic issues behind them, drawing upon actual local illustrations.

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