The Mobilizing Effect of Majority–Minority Districts on Latino Turnout
We inquire whether residence in majority–minority districts raises or lowers turnout among Latinos. We argue that the logic suggesting that majority–minority districts suppress turnout is flawed and hypothesize that the net effect is empowering. Further, we suggest that residing in multiple overlapping majority–minority districts—for state assemblies, senates, and the U.S. House—further enhances turnout. We test our hypotheses using individual-level turnout data for voters in five Southern California counties. Examining three general elections from 1996 to 2000, we demonstrate that residing in a majority-Latino district ultimately has a positive effect on the propensity of Latino voters to turn out, an effect that increases with the number of Latino districts in which the voter resides and is consistent across the individual offices in which a voter might be descriptively represented. In contrast, the probability that non-Hispanic voters turn out decreases as they are subject to increasing layers of majority-Latino districting.
c1 Doctoral Candidate, Department of Political Science, University of California, Irvine, and Tomás Rivera Policy Institute at the University of Southern California, 3151 Social Science Plaza, Irvine, CA 92697 (MBarreto@uci.edu).
c2 Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Iowa, 341 Schaeffer Hall, Iowa City, IA 52242 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
c3 A consultant with Welch Consulting and Research Scholar with The Center for The Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University. Address: c/o Welch Consulting, 1640 Fifth Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401 (NWoods@welchcon.com).