Disparate racial impacts of Shelby County v. Holder on voter turnout

Stephen B. Billings, Noah Braun, Daniel B. Jones, Ying Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In Shelby County v. Holder (2013), the Supreme Court struck down a core provision of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) that enabled federal electoral oversight in select jurisdictions. We study whether this decision disproportionately impacted ballot access for Black and Hispanic registered voters. We use a rich dataset on voter behavior for the universe of registered voters combined with Census block-level sociodemographic attributes to document a decrease in turnout for Black, relative to white, individuals. We observe suggestive but less robust evidence of decreases in Hispanic turnout. These effects are concentrated in counties with larger Black and Hispanic populations, consistent with strategic targeting of voter suppression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105047
JournalJournal of Public Economics
StatePublished - Feb 2024


  • Political participation
  • Voting Rights Act

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


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