Ulric B. and Evelyn L. Bray Social Sciences Seminar

Tuesday, April 26, 2022
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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Baxter Lecture Hall
What History Can Tell Us About How to Assess the State of Voting Rights and How to Amend the Voting Rights Act
J. Morgan Kousser, Professor of History and Social Science, Emeritus, Caltech,

Abstract: Using the largest database ever collected on legal cases on racial discrimination in elections, I make three simple points. First, laws and legal decisions have made discrimination invisible, wholly visible, or partly visible. Second, VRA coverage schemes have always tried to predict sites of discrimination using quantitative indices, but the data has always been imperfect. Third, the historical record over cycles of Supreme Court decisions allows us to predict more reliably than ever before what traits of geographical areas are correlated with proven voting discrimination and, therefore, to frame a precisely targeted coverage scheme based not on race per se, but on the racial traits of places as indices of discrimination – to separate affirmative action from discrimination.

For more information, please contact Letty Diaz by phone at 626-395-1255 or by email at letty.diaz@caltech.edu.