1. The eleven states included in the tabulations for the South are: AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, TX, and VA. The eight non-South states with Black populations greater than 10% included in the tabulations are: DE, IL, MD, MI, MO, NJ, NY, and OH. The ten states with Hispanic populations greater that 10% included in the analysis are: AZ, CA, CO, FL, IL, NV, NJ, NM, NY, and TX.
2. The years chosen as our points of comparison were based on the availability of information on the race and ethnicity of legislators at the time we undertook the data compilation. Ethnicity was identified using the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) directory and race was identified using the National Black Caucus of State Legislators directory and data provided by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. Personal knowledge and inquiries supplemented the identification process.
3. In the 1960s and 1970s, some asserted that a 65% African-American population was required to provide minorities a realistic opportunity to elect candidates of choice in order to compensate for differentials in voting age eligibility, registration and turnout; see Parker (Reference Parker1990); discussion in Brace et al. (Reference Brace, Grofman, Handley and Niemi1988).
4. In 2018, seven new African-American Democrats won election to the U.S. House from districts less than 40% Black and Latino combined (Lublin Reference Lublin2018). Their elections provide further evidence that Black Democrats can retain sufficient White Democratic support to win outside of majority-Black districts, though it remains easier to win their nominations in districts where African Americans control the outcome of the Democratic primary.
6. Grofman (Reference Grofman2006) provides an ordinal scaling of districts in which minorities could be said to have some degree of influence, from districts in which minorities control who will be elected by virtue of being a majority of the voters in both the Democratic primary and the general election (these are inevitably majority-minority districts, but not all majority-minority districts are necessarily control districts); to districts in which minorities do not comprise a majority of the voters but have a realistic opportunity to elect minority candidates of choice because of consistent White crossover voting; to, finally, districts in which minority voters have some electoral influence but not enough to be assured of electing candidates whom they prefer even with substantial White crossover voting (see also Engstrom Reference Engstrom and McCool2012).
7. In some parts of the South, African Americans form a disproportionate share of Democratic officeholders (e.g., 100% of Georgia's congressional delegation and 72% of state legislators).
8. We recognize that not all minority legislators are the choice of minority voters, and some White legislators are the minority-preferred candidate. An analysis of voting patterns is required to determine who the minority-preferred candidates are and whether they are usually successful. However, for the purposes of simplicity, this model assumes the Black Democrat is the candidate of choice for minority voters.
9. A similar model can be constructed for Latino voters but, because of lower voting age and citizenship rates for Hispanics than for African-Americans, for a fixed Republican vote share, the proportion of Hispanics needed to optimize Hispanic representation will be higher than what the simulation shows for African-Americans.
10. Examples of articles that have directly addressed the relationship between descriptive representation and minority population concentrations include Branton (Reference Branton2009); Bratton (Reference Bratton2006); Engstrom and McDonald (Reference Engstrom and McDonald1981); Epstein and O’Halloran (Reference Epstein, O'Halloran, Epstein, Pildes, de la Garza and O'Halloran2006); Grofman and Handley (Reference Grofman and Handley1989); Handley, Grofman, and Arden (Reference Handley, Grofman, Arden and Grofman1998); Juenke and Preuhs (Reference Juenke and Preuhs2012); Lublin et al. (Reference Lublin, Brunell, Grofman and Handley2009); Preuhs and Hero (Reference Preuhs and Hero2011); Preuhs and Juenke (Reference Preuhs and Juenke2011); see also Brace et al. (Reference Brace, Grofman, Handley and Niemi1988); Bullock (Reference Bullock2010); Grofman and Handley (Reference Grofman and Handley1989); Hajnal (Reference Hajnal2009); Hicks et al. (Reference Hicks, Klarner, McKee and Smith2018); Lublin (Reference Lublin1997a, Reference Lublin1997b); Marschall, Ruhil, and Shah (Reference Marschall, Ruhil and Shah2010).
11. The overwhelming concentration of successful African-American and Latino candidates in majority-minority districts cannot be attributed to residential patterns: less than half of all African Americans live in majority Black districts, and less than half of all Latinos live in majority Hispanic districts (tabular data omitted for space reasons).
12. The percentage of 40 to 45% Black districts that elected African Americans increased between 2007 and 2015 from 36.7 to 53.1% in state house districts, 23.8 to 45.5% in state senate districts, and remained the same at 100% for congressional districts. The comparable percentages for the 45 to 50% Black range were an increase from 62.9 to 70.6% in state house districts, 36.4 to 83.3% in state senate districts, and 50 to 100% for congressional districts. (Compare data in Table 4 in Lublin et al. (Reference Lublin, Brunell, Grofman and Handley2009) with Table 3.)
13. The share of 40–45% Latino citizen population districts that elected Latinos to office rose from 33.3 to 42.9% in state house districts, 37.5 to 50.0% in state senate districts, and 40 to 60% for congressional districts. The comparable percentages for the 45–50% Latino range were an increase from 57.9 to 69.4% in state house districts, 37.5 to 73.3% in state senate districts, and 50 to 80% for congressional districts. (Compare data in Table 5 in Lublin et al. (Reference Lublin, Brunell, Grofman and Handley2009) with Table 4.)
14. The number of districts between 40 and 50% Black increased between 2007 and 2015 from 93 to 113 for state house districts, from 44 to 48 for state senate districts, and from 19 to 26 for congressional districts. The number of districts between 40 and 50% Latino also increased between 2007 and 2015: from 31 to 64 for state house districts, from 16 to 27 for state senate districts, and from 9 to 20 for congressional districts. (Compare data in Table 4 in Lublin et al. (Reference Lublin, Brunell, Grofman and Handley2009) with Table 3.)
16. The number of majority Black state house districts increased from 351 to 361, majority Black state senate districts from 111 to 122, and majority Black congressional districts from 26 to 29 between 2007 and 2015. Only majority Black districts that fell in the 50–55% range and over 80% were consistently more likely to elect African-American legislators to office. (Compare data in Table 4 in Lublin et al. (Reference Lublin, Brunell, Grofman and Handley2009) with Table 3.)
17. While the number of majority Latino population districts increased slightly, the number of majority Latino citizen population districts declined: from 109 to 73 for state house districts, 43 to 29 for state senate districts, and 20 to 13 for congressional districts. (Compare data in Tables 3 and 4 in Lublin et al. (Reference Lublin, Brunell, Grofman and Handley2009) with Tables 2 and 3.) In none of the majority Latino district ranges were Latino legislators consistently more likely to be elected. (Compare data in Table 5 in Lublin et al. (Reference Lublin, Brunell, Grofman and Handley2009) with Table 4.)
18. In 2018, seven new African-American Democratic U.S. House members gained election from districts with even fewer minorities (Lublin Reference Lublin2018).
19. This insistence on retaining majority-minority districts at or above a 50% minority voting age population may have been the result of misinformation about what was required to obtain preclearance under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act or to have safe harbor from a Section 2 lawsuit. Alternatively (or additionally), drawing districts with minority populations above 50% may have stemmed from a desire by Republican legislators to pack Democratic districts (i.e., concentrate more minority voters than necessary to provide minority voters with a realistic opportunity to elect their preferred candidates) and retain higher non-Hispanic White population percentages in the surrounding districts. In any case, the Supreme Court held that the Voting Rights Act does not require the maintenance of a particular numerical minority percentage, rather it requires the jurisdiction to maintain the minority group's ability to elect its candidate of choice. See Alabama Legislative Black Caucus versus Alabama, 135 S. Ct. 1257, 1272 (2015).
20. Alabama (Alabama Legislative Black Caucus versus Alabama, 135 S. Ct. 1257, 2015), North Carolina (Cooper versus Harris 137 S. Ct. 1455, 2017), and Virginia (Personhuballah versus Alcorn 155 F.Supp.3d 552, 2016).
21. The results of lawsuits such the one decided in Virginia have shown that lowering minority population percentages in previously majority-minority districts, such as the Third Congressional District of Virginia, need not reduce minority representation. Indeed, under the first election following the court's adoption of a new plan, the African-American incumbent was easily re-elected In District 3, despite a reduction in the Black voting age population percentage by over ten percentage points to 45.3%. In addition, the newly drawn District 4, with a Black voting age population of approximately 40%, also elected an African-American after he succeeded in winning the Democratic primary.
22. Whether any specific candidate can win a given general election is also dependent on considerations that cannot be included in the model such as how well-qualified the candidates are and how much money the candidates are able to raise.
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