Date of Award
Master of Arts
David A. Peterson
This study will look at racism and the history and progress of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, specifically in Wake and Guilford counties in North Carolina to assess whether it is still needed in its current format as we enter the 21st century. In June of 2013, the Supreme Court struck down the strongest and most widely used provisions in Section 4 and by default Section 5 of the VRA due to the perceived changed landscape of American politics. This study will examine the change in the expression of racism over the last fifty years. It will also analyze the effect of Section 5 of the VRA in two North Carolina counties to show why this decision should be overturned and the VRA restored to its previous strength.
It will measure the rates of voter registration and percentage of registered voters in their voting age population in these two counties specifically focusing on the years between Congress' last reauthorization in 2006 and the present time of 2014 since the Supreme Court decision. North Carolina counties were used due to the unique fact that originally the state was only partially covered by the VRA. This study samples both a Section 5 covered county and a bailed-out county to give a picture that shows there has been great progress, but there is still work to be done. This study will show that the VRA is still necessary in the 21st century due to the fact the race and racism are still and will continue to be a large factor in American politics.
Zachary Robert Bonner
Bonner, Zachary Robert, "Racism and the Voting Rights Act of 1965: A natural experiment in Wake & Guilford counties in North Carolina" (2014). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 13965.