Voting Rights Act Research

We have several new projects looking at possible futures for the Voting Rights Act of 1965. One is a new collaborative paper by data scientists Amariah Becker, Moon Duchin, and Dara Gold with voting rights attorney Sam Hirsch. BDGH build a new system for scoring a district’s opportunity for minority groups to elect candidates of choice—with this effectiveness score, they are able to generate large ensembles of maps with many effective districts. The main case study is the Texas congressional map, where these methods are shown to find maps that provide as much, or much more, electoral opportunity than the status quo.
Read the preprint here.

In another piece of work, Moon Duchin and law/policy professor Doug Spencer team up to respond to “The Race-Blind Future of Voting Rights”, a piece by Jowei Chen and Nick Stephanopoulos in the Yale Law Journal. Duchin–Spencer take a close look at the methods, and also at the fit of the methods to the application, and find some problems. Here’s the response.