The enactment and implementation of the Voting Rights Act enfranchised millions of African Americans who had been denied the franchise as a result of "Jim Crow" laws in the South. Newly enfranchised African American voters cast ballots in large numbers for Democratic presidential nominees. At the same time, the South began to undergo a shift from Democratic to Republican dominance in presidential elections. Since 1968, only two Democrats—southerners Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton—have won electoral votes in the South. Was this shift to the Republicans caused by the enfranchisement of African Americans, or were these events coincidental? In this paper, cartographic and statistical analysis is undertaken in order to shed light on this question. The results suggest that the linkage between the Voting Rights Act and a shift to Republican dominance was strong in the Deep South, but weak or absent in other parts of the South.


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