Center for Applied Research and Public Policy (CARPP)

  Publications - Elections and Politics

Enfranchisement or Political Apartheid - by Maraleen D. Shields

Race has been an issue in the United States since its founding. Whether it was Native Americans being moved from their land or Africans being forced to live and work on this land as slaves, race has always been a volatile issue in this country. While race relations between blacks and whites in particular have improved from the master-slave relationship of the seventeen and eighteen hundreds, many still believe that blacks continue to suffer injustices in the United States. Specifically, some believe that black representation in the government is still unsatisfactory. Read article

Reading Congressional Tea Leaves from the 2006 Renewal of the Voting Rights Act  - by: Sarah A. Binder

There’s been ample excellent coverage of the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Shelby County vs. Holder, which declared a key section of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional. By rejecting the VRA’s formula for determining which states and jurisdictions are subject to pre-clearance of changes to their voting laws, the Court effectively derailed the Act’s pre-clearance regime for preventing discriminatory voting practices.  Read article

U.S. Government - by Brookings.edu

The three branches of the U.S. government—legislative, judicial and executive—each holds its own responsibilities and powers to execute the nation’s laws on behalf of all American citizens. Brookings experts examine how the government’s many agencies and organizations function and interact, the role the U.S. government plays in citizens’ lives, and offer recommendations on increasing government efficiency.  Read article


The Twisted History of Gerrymandering in American Politics - by Emily Barasch

Outlandish districts created for electoral gain are a major distorting force in the contemporary U.S., but they belong to a long tradition.  In the October issue of The Atlantic, Robert Draper offers an in-depth analysis of current instances of gerrymandering in U.S. politics. The practice of manipulating the boundaries of electoral districts for party or class gain is as old as the United States -- though the term is not. But Draper argues that the U.S. is the only democracy in the world where politicians have an active role in creating voting districts, and says it plays a large role in the divisive nature of our politics. Here is a brief history of the practice. Read article

INCARCERATION AND RACIAL INEQUALITY IN VOTER TURNOUT- by Jake Rosenfeld, Becky Pettit, Jennifer Laird, and Bryan Sykes

The 2008 election posted the highest rates of black voter turnout on record. In the contest that featured Barack Obama, participation among African-Americans rivaled those of whites for the first time since the major datasets on U.S. elections — the CPS and the National Election Survey (NES) — began collecting information on voter turnout. Read article

Bartlett v. Strickland (Amicus Counsel)

The United States Supreme Court will decide this term a voting rights case that could have a significant impact on state redistricting plans following the 2010 census.The case concerns a 2003 redistricting plan in North Carolina, under which the General Assembly split the state’s 18th District between portions of two counties in order to create one district with a 39% African-American voting-age population. Read article

Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is one of our nation’s most effective federal civil rights statutes. Shelby County, Alabama has filed a lawsuit seeking to invalidate Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which is widely regarded as the heart of the legislation. Read article

Elections and Change Under Voting With Dollars - by Pamela S. Karlan

Two important events occur in even numbered years: federal elections and the Olympics.Each is marked by huge amounts of media spending,odd combinations of high ideals,jingoism,fierce competition in some events and preordained results in others,and,especially recently,accusations of partisan judging. Read article

Increasing the Quantity and the Quality of the African-American Vote: Lessons for 2008 and Beyond- by Franita Tolson

Elections for state and congressional representatives are often referenda on the national presidential election,and African-Americans have,at times,been the swing vote in these contests.One notable example is the contentious presidential election campaign of 1800 between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. Read article

Majority Rule, Minority Rights, and the Right to Vote: Reflections upon a Reading of Minority Vote Dilution- by Philip P. Frickey

A modem prophet translated the biblical injunction to possess the truth,for"the truth shall make you free,"'into a vision in which the instrument of freedom is the vote rather than the truth.Dr.Martin Luther King,Jr.articulated the basis of much of the early civil rights movement when he stated:"Voting is the foundation stone for political action.With it the Negro can vote out of office public officials who bar the doorway to decent housing,public safety,jobs,and decent integrated education." Read article

Resolving the Dilemma of Minority Representation- By Grant M. Hayden

Over the last forty years,racial and ethnic minority groups have  made tremendous strides in American politics.The advances were,in large part,brought about by a series of significant changes in voting rights law.The Voting Rights Act of 1965 finally made good on the century old promise of the Fifteenth Amendment to ensure minorities access to the polls. Read article

Increasing the Quantity and the Quality of the African-American Vote: Lessons for 2008 and Beyond- By Franita Tolson

Elections for state and congressional representatives are often referenda on the national presidential election, and African-Americans have, at times,been the swing vote in these contests. One notable example is the contentious presidential election campaign of 1800 between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. This election marked the first time that political parties played a decisive role in the outcome and also the first time that power switched hands
from one party to another-from the Federalist Party to Thomas Jefferson's Democratic-Republicans. Read article

Putting Barack Obama's Candidacy in Historical Perspective- by Rogers, Ibram, Diverse Issues in Higher Education

A host of pre-eminent Black scholars sound off on the historical and sociological significance of Sen. Barack Obama's candidacy and its aftereffects on Black America. Sen. Barack Obama's historic candidacy for president of the United States has generated an intense and thoughtful national discussion within Black America. His campaign has brought several issues to the fore. Read article

States black officeholders after Civil War had impact- Alabama Black History

While we generally think of the Civil War ending on April 9, 1865, at Appomattox, Va., when Lee surrendered to Grant, fighting continued in Alabama until May 8, when Confederate Gen. Richard Taylor gave up to Union forces near Citronelle. When that happened, 439,000 slaves were suddenly freed. In Alabama, a new phase of American history began. The former slaves found themselves looking for food and shelter -- the same as many poor whites. Read article

Republican African American Officeholders during the Reconstruction

Many scholars have identified more than 1,500 African American officeholders during the Reconstruction period (1865–1876). All were Republicans. However, Canter Brown, Jr. makes the salient point that, in some states (such as Florida), the highest number of African Americans were elected or appointed to offices after 1876, after Reconstruction. Read article

50 Years of the Voting Rights Act--The State of Race in Politics- By Joint Center for Political And Economic Studies

This report examines minority voter registration and turnout,racially polarized voting,policy outcomes by race,and the number and share of minority elected officials from the enactment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 until today.This information is essential in thinking about the future of race,politics, and voting rights. Read article

A Dream Undone- New York Times Magazine

On the morning of his wedding, in 1956, Henry Frye realized that he had a few hours to spare before the afternoon ceremony. He was staying at his parents’ house in Ellerbe, N.C.; the ceremony would take place 75 miles away, in Greensboro, the hometown of his fiancee; and the drive wouldn’t take long. Frye, who had always been practical, had a practical thought: Now might be a good time to finally register to vote. Read Article

AP count: Clinton has delegates to win Democratic nomination- By HOPE YEN, STEPHEN OHLEMACHER, LISA LERER and CATHERINE LUCEY

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Striding into history, Hillary Clinton will become the first woman to top the presidential ticket of a major U.S. political party, capturing commitments Monday from the number of delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination.

Clinton's rise to presumptive nominee arrived nearly eight years to the day after she conceded her first White House campaign to Barack Obama. Back then, she famously noted her inability to "shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling." Read article