Date of Award

5-1-2001

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

Department of Political Science

First Advisor

Bob Holmes

Abstract

This thesis is a case study of the Georgia General Assembly. The impetus for the study is to provide black legislators with information to aid them to increase African American legislative representation. This is accomplished by reviewing legislators’ voting records for the period 1996 to 1998. Statistical and spatial analysis techniques were used to determine if district black population percentage (BPP) and population density affect the way different legislator cohort groups vote on issues that impact black quality of life in Georgia. These analyses provide the following three conclusions: 1) there is a linear functional relationship between BPP and white lawmaker support for legislation considered beneficial to black interests; 2) there is no discemable difference between rural and urban white legislators’ support for black interest; and 3) black legislators are supportive of black interests at all levels of BPP. Recommendations provided to increase black legislative representation include: 1) reapportion black populations from districts with over 50 percent BPP to others that have 10 to 40 percent BPP in order to increase the number of majority black districts; 2) increase the number of black influence districts; and 3) The Georgia Legislative Black Caucus (GLBC) should conduct strategic redistricting planning.

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