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71 Tex. L. Rev. 1479 (1992-1993)
Save the Baby, Change the Bathwater, and Scrub the Tub: Latino Electoral Participation after Seventeen Years of Voting Rights Act Coverage

handle is hein.journals/tlr71 and id is 1499 raw text is: Save the Baby, Change the Bathwater, and
Scrub the Tub: Latino Electoral Participation After
Seventeen Years of Voting Rights Act Coverage
Rodolfo 0. de la Garza* & Louis DeSipio**
The recent extension of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) until 20071
offers Congress and voting rights activists the opportunity to stop and
reflect on their accomplishments since 1965. The Act2 unquestionably
changed the construction of American politics at a profound level. The
VRA has abolished formal structures of intimidation and exclusion of
blacks in the South so that once-excluded Southern blacks are now integral
parts of Democratic coalitions throughout the region.'
The effect has been dramatic but less profound on Mexican Americans
and other Latinos.4 Congress debated Mexican American exclusion less ac-
tively, but VRA-induced changes-the elimination of anti-Mexican voter
dilution efforts, the provision of bilingual election materials, and the
creation of many districts that routinely elect Mexican Americans and other
Latinos to office-have been integral to increased Latino electoral
Despite the elimination of formal barriers and the creation of new
electoral opportunities, Latinos and African Americans continue to partici-
pate in electoral politics at levels significantly below those of the white
* Mike Hogg Professor of Community Affairs, Department of Government, The University of
Texas at Austin. Bachelor of Foreign Trade 1965, American Institute of Foreign Trade; B.S. 1964,
M.A. 1967, Ph.D. 1972, University of Arizona.
** Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Wellesley College. A.B. 1981,
Columbia University; M.A. 1984, Ph.D. 1993, The University of Texas at Austin.
1. Voting Rights Language Assistance Act of 1992, Pub. L. No. 102-344, 1992 U.S.C.C.A.N.
(106 Stat.) 921.
2. Pub. L. No. 102-344, 106 Stat. 921 (1965) (codified as amended at 42 U.S.C.A. §§ 1971-
1974e (West 1981 & Supp. 1993)).
3. See generally ABIGAIL M. THERNSTROM, WHOSE VoTEs COUNT?. (1987) (tracing the history
of the 1965 VRA).
4. Weusetheterms Latinos and Hispanics interchangeablyto refer to residents of the United
States who can trace their ancestry to the Spanish-speaking regions of Latin America or the Caribbean.


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