Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

International Journal of Education, Culture and Society

Publication Date


Date Added



In June 2013, the Supreme Court ruled in Shelby County v. Holder that states with a history of racial discrimination no longer needed to approve proposed changes to their voting procedures with the federal government. The court ruled that the coverage formula was based on 40-year-old data that was not applicable to current needs. Thus the 2016 presidential election was the first in 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act. The objective of this paper is to examine the changes in voter turnout between the 2012 and the 2016 national elections due to the changes in the Voting Rights Act. Using data from the voter file vendor Catalist and information from the U.S. Census Bureau, this paper examined changes in turnout rates for different racial/ethnic groups between 2012 and 2016. The findings indicated (1) African American turnout declined substantially; (2) white turnout increased considerably; (3) Latino American turnout increased, and (4) in the key swing states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, fluctuations in voter participation were especially strong. Voter enthusiasm and perceived voter suppression efforts had a huge impact on voter turnout. In addition, not being able to identify with candidates or properly researching candidates’ political goals hampered the desire to vote, especially in Black Americans.


Civil Rights, Voter Suppression, Voting Rights, Disenfranchisement




Science Publishing Group

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Sociology Commons