|Chapters 2-9 contain
individual accounts of the impact of the Voting Rights Act, particularly on local election
systems, in the eight southern states covered entirely or in substantial part by the
section 5 preclearance provision. Chapter 10 summarizes the data on voting rights
legislation and minority officeholding in the eight states. Changes in city election
structure are gauged. The effect of these changes on minority officeholding is measured.
The ability of Blacks to win office from districts of varying Black population proportions
is examined. Chapter 10 also contains a discussion of the issues that led the authors to
adopt the longitudinal design that served as the unifying framework for the individual
state chapters. Chapter 11 examines the relationship between the Black population
proportion in state legislative and congressional districts in the eleven southern states
and the ability of Blacks to win election there. Chapter 12 answers the first-generation
question of how the Act affected the Black-white registration rates in the eleven state in
the South. Chapter 13 summarizes and interprets the larger significance of the book's
The editors' central aim reflected the two major purposes of the Voting Rights Act: 1. To determine what effect it has had in enfranchising Blacks in the South, and 2. Its impact on Black representation by preventing the dilution of minority votes, in particular whether the Act enables Blacks and Mexican Americans in Texas to win local office.
The task set before the authors of the state chapters has five components: 1. To cover the main voting rights developments in their states from Reconstruction to modern times with special emphasis after World War II; 2. To review the major constitutional and statutory cases in their state related to the Act and also to discuss section 5 enforcement issues in the state; 3. To generate a comprehensive longitudinal data base for cities in their states that would enable them to distinguish - in large part - the consequences of multimember-district elections from the impact of other factors; 4. To assess the direct effect of the Voting Rights Act on the election of minority candidates to local office; and 5.