Now Available for (free) Download: “Race, Shelby County, and the Voter Information Verification Act in North Carolina”

Race, Shelby County, and the Voter Information Verification Act in North Carolina

Florida State University Law Review

Michael C. Herron & Daniel A. Smith

Abstract

Shortly after the Supreme Court in Shelby County v. Holder struck down section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), the State of North Carolina enacted an omnibus piece of elec-tion-reform legislation known as the Voter Information Verification Act (VIVA). Prior to Shelby, portions of North Carolina were covered jurisdictions per the VRA’s sections 4 and 5—meaning that they had to seek federal preclearance for changes to their election proce-dures—and this motivates our assessment of whether VIVA’s many alterations to North Carolina’s election procedures are race-neutral. We show that in presidential elections in North Carolina black early voters have cast their ballots disproportionately in the first week of early voting, which was eliminated by VIVA; that blacks disproportionately have registered to vote during early voting and in the immediate run-up to Election Day, something VIVA now prohibits; that registered voters in the state who lack two VIVA-acceptable forms of voter identification, driver’s licenses and non-operator identification cards, are disproportionately black; that VIVA’s identification dispensation for voters at least seventy years old disproportionately benefits white registered voters; and, that preregistered sixteen and seventeen year old voters in North Carolina, a category of registrants that VIVA prohibits, are disproportionately black. These results illustrate how VIVA will have a disparate effect on black voters in North Carolina.

Download here:

 

Looking forward to FSU Law Review special issue on Voting Rights. Here’s Michael Herron & my take on NC’s VIVA

RACE, SHELBY COUNTY, AND THE VOTER INFORMATION VERIFICATION ACT IN NORTH CAROLINA*

MICHAEL C. HERRON & DANIEL A. SMITH

ABSTRACT
Shortly after the Supreme Court in Shelby County v. Holder struck down section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), the State of North Carolina enacted an omnibus piece of election-reform legislation known as the Voter Information Verification Act (VIVA). Prior to Shelby, portions of North Carolina were covered jurisdictions per the VRA’s sections 4 and 5—meaning that they had to seek federal preclearance for changes to their election procedures—and this motivates our assessment of whether VIVA’s many alterations to North Carolina’s election procedures are race-neutral. We show that in presidential elections in North Carolina black early voters have cast their ballots disproportionately in the first week of early voting, which was eliminated by VIVA; that blacks disproportionately have registered to vote during early voting and in the immediate run-up to Election Day, something VIVA now prohibits; that registered voters in the state who lack two VIVA-acceptable forms of voter identification, driver’s licenses and non-operator identification cards, are disproportionately black; that VIVA’s identification dispensation for voters at least seventy years old disproportionately benefits white registered voters; and, that preregistered sixteen and seventeen year old voters in North Carolina, a category of registrants that VIVA prohibits, are disproportionately black. These results illustrate how VIVA will have a disparate effect on black voters in North Carolina.

Here’s a link to the pre-publication

Latest Herron & Smith: “Race, Shelby County, and the Voter Information Verification Act in North Carolina”

“Race, Shelby County, and the Voter Information Verification Act in North Carolina”
Michael C. Herron and Daniel A. Smith
February 11, 2014

Abstract

Shortly after the Supreme Court in Shelby County v. Holder struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), the state of North Carolina enacted an omnibus piece of election-reform legislation known as the Voter Information Verification Act (VIVA). Prior to Shelby portions of North Carolina were covered jurisdictions per the VRA’s Sections 4 and 5—meaning that they had to seek federal preclearance for changes to their election procedures—and this motivates our assessment of whether VIVA’s many alterations to North Carolina’s election procedures are race-neutral. We show that black early voters in North Carolina have in presidential elections cast their ballots disproportionately in the first week of early voting, an early voting week that VIVA has eliminated; that blacks in the state disproportionately have registered to vote during early voting and in the immediate run-up to Election Day, something that VIVA prohibits; that North Carolina registered voters who lack two VIVA-acceptable forms of voter identification, drivers licenses and nonoperator identification cards, are disproportionately black; that VIVA’s identification dispensation for voters at least 70 years is a disproportionate benefit to whites; and, that preregistered 16 and 17-year old voters in North Carolina, a category of registrants that VIVA prohibits, are disproportionately black. These results illustrate how VIVA will have a disparate effect on black voters in North Carolina.


Available for download, here

Quite honored to have early voting research cited in Rep. John Lewis’ amicus brief in Shelby County v. Holder

Here’s a pdf of the Racial Justice Project’s amicus brief on behalf of Congressman John Lewis. My research with Prof. Michael Herron is cited on pp. 32-33, clipped below.

For the 2012 general election, only thirty-two of Florida’s sixty-seven counties, including the five counties covered by Section 5, offered the maximum ninety-six hours of early voting hours permitted under the new law. Minority voters again took advantage of the extra time to cast their votes. While African Americans made up less than 14% of Florida’s registered voters in 2012, they made up more than 22% of the early voter electorate on each day of the 2012 early voting period. Herron & Smith, at 11. However, because there was a reduction in the total number of early voting hours and days in 2012, including the elimination of the Sunday immediately before Election Day, there were fewer opportunities for minorities to vote early. In Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties, voters stood in line to cast early votes for more than five hours during the weekend before Election Day. Id. at 20. In those two counties, African Americans made up only 16.7% of registered voters, but accounted for 43.8% of the early voters on Sunday, November 4, 2012. Id. at 21. The data tell the story. There is simply no question that without Section 5, a disproportionate number of minority voters in Florida would have been deterred from exercising their right to vote in 2012.