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Document Type

Feature Article

Publication Date

Fall 9-1-2010

Publication Title

Washington University Undergraduate Research Digest: WUURD 6(1)


Peer Editors: Daniel Woznica; Faculty Mentor: Gary J. Miller

Do the institutional differences of state election laws help to explain the uneven process of electoral change in the Deep South during the last quarter of the 20th Century? Previous research on Southern electoral change has studied the effects of numerous variables within an assumed context of similar electoral institutions. This research examines the unique institution of Louisiana’s nonpartisan blanket primary through a comparative study of Deep South state legislative elections between 1964 (the first election following the passage of the Civil Rights Act) and 2003 (the last election before Hurricane Katrina in 2005). Employing statistical and spatial analysis, regression, and elite interviews, the work finds three initial effects of the nonpartisan blanket primary on electoral change that have faded with the increase in two-party competition: impact on candidate number, impact on party performance, and an impact as a direct result of the set of unique electoral situations created, such as single party run-off elections and candidate election through a single electoral primary.

From the Washington University Undergraduate Research Digest: WUURD, Volume 6, Issue 1, Fall 2010. Published by the Office of Undergraduate Research.

Henry Biggs, Director of Undergraduate Research and Associate Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences; Joy Zalis Kiefer, Undergraduate Research Coordinator, Co-editor, and Assistant Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences; Kristin Sobotka, Editor.


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