Redistricting and the Causal Impact of Race on Voter Turnout

Journal of Politics

Bernard L. Fraga
Publication Date
View Publication Information

Recent work challenges traditional understandings of the link between race and voter turnout, suggesting that there is limited evidence of increased minority voting due to co-ethnic representation and majority-minority districts. Here I examine 65.3 million registration records from 10 states to trace individual-level participation before and after the 2012 round of redistricting, testing whether a shift in congressional representation, candidacy, and/or district ethnic composition affected an individual’s decision to participate. Separating results for non-Hispanic white, black, Latino, and Asian American registrants, I find that individuals change their behavior in response to ethnoracial context, with African Americans more likely to vote when assigned to majority-black districts with black candidates or incumbents. White and Asian registrants also turn out in higher numbers when a co-ethnic candidate is on the ballot, but Latinos may be less likely to vote in the short term when assigned to majority-Latino districts.