Models, Race, and the Law Journal Article uri icon



  • In The Race-Blind Future of Voting Rights, Jowei Chen and Nick Stephanopoulos sketch out a provocative proof of concept that stands on a shaky empirical foundation. The authors use the promising ensemble method of random district generation to deliver a baseline for minority electoral opportunity. As we show with data demonstrations and replication, the authors' ambitious scope leads them to take many shortcuts in methodology as they build their label of opportunity and their ensembles. Furthermore, the authors misuse the ensembles that they do generate. This style of leveraging technical tools while ignoring the scientific standards surrounding their development and deployment risks creating an unnecessarily muddy legal terrain. And the stakes are high: whereas the goal of the Voting Rights Act is to "hasten the waning of racism in American politics," The Race-Blind Future of Voting Rights could very well hasten the waning of political power for people of color at all levels of government. This Response both flags technical issues and questions the conceptual alignment of the methods with their application to voting rights law.

publication date

  • January 1, 2021

Date in CU Experts

  • February 1, 2022 11:19 AM

Full Author List

  • Spencer D; Duchin M

author count

  • 2

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 744

end page

  • 797


  • 130