Chandler Davidson

Areas of Interest: 
Racial and ethnic politics, minority voting rights, and social inequality

Chandler Davidson, Research Professor and Tsanoff Chair of Public Affairs Emeritus, taught at Rice from 1966 to 2003. He was a founding member of the Department of Sociology and served as departmental chair for fourteen years between 1979 and 2003. In the latter part of his career, he had a joint appointment with the Department of Political Science. Davidson has won five university-wide teaching prizes, including Rice's top award, the George R. Brown Excellence in Teaching Prize. In addition to many articles appearing in academic journals and popular magazines, he has written or edited a number of books. In the early 1990s he and Professor Bernard Grofman of the University of California at Irvine directed a major scholarly effort to assess the impact of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in the South. Funded by the National Science Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, the project involved almost thirty political scientists, historians, sociologists, and voting rights lawyers. The resulting book, Quiet Revolution in the South (Princeton University Press, 1994), was co-edited by Davidson and Grofman and won the Richard Fenno Prize awarded by the American Political Science Association for the best book published on legislative behavior that year. Davidson's scholarship on voting rights has been cited at least seven times in U.S. Supreme Court opinions and numerous times in lower court opinions. In a 2011 case before the U.S. District Court for the District Court of Columbia concerning whether Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act was still valid, the Court affirmatively cited two of his books as well as his 2006 U.S. Senate testimony a total of 27 times. When the case was finally decided by the Supreme Court in 2012, his and Grofman’s edited volume was cited by Justice Ginsburg in her dissent. He is also continuing research on minority voting rights. In 2005-06 Davidson was asked to serve on the ten-member National Commission on the Voting Rights Act as Congress prepared to consider reauthorizing the non-permanent provisions of the Act. In that capacity he was the primary drafter and author of the Commission's 2006 report, Protecting Minority Voters. He was also invited that year to testify before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the Act's reauthorization [link].  In 2011 he was asked by a civil rights organization, The Advancement Project, to present an affidavit to the U.S. Department of Justice regarding the history of racial discrimination in elections in Texas, the purpose of which affidavit was to question the motives and impact of Texas’ recently enacted law requiring a photo ID as a prerequisite to voting.

In 2014 he was asked by the U.S. Department of Justice to be an expert witness in a lawsuit challenging Texas' recently passed photo ID requirement to vote.  His report was cited by the federal district court judge, who found in favor of the plaintiffs, declaring the photo ID unconstitutional. 

Recent Publications
  • Republican Ballot Security Programs: Vote Protection or Minority Vote Suppression-or Both?, in co-authorship with Tanya Dunlap, Gale Kenny, and Benjamin Wise, Center for Voting Rights and Protection, Washington, D.C. (2004).
  • Protecting Minority Voters: The Voting Rights Act at Work 1982-2005, National Commission on the Voting Rights Act, Washington, D.C. ( 2006). [link]
  • Highlights of Hearings of the National Commission on the Voting Rights Act 2005, National Commission on the Voting Rights Act, Washington, D.C. (2006) [link]
  • "Renewing the Non-permanent Features of the Voting Rights Act," Focus Magazine, July-Aug. 2006, 1-14.
  • "Vote Caging as a Republican Ballot Security Technique," (with Tanya Dunlap, Benjamin Wise, and Gale Kenny), William Mitchell Law Review, vol. 34, No 2, 2008, 533-562.
  • "The Historical Context of Voter Photo-ID Laws," PS, January 2009,93-96.
Quiet Revolution in the South: The Impact of the Voting Rights Act, 1965-1990
Chandler Davidson (Editor), Bernard N. Grofman (Editor)
Controversies in Minority Voting: The Voting Rights Act in Perspective Bernard N. Grofman (Editor), Chandler Davidson (Editor)
Minority Vote Dilution
Chandler Davidson (Editor)
Race and Class in Texas Politics
Chandler Davidson

Biracial Politics
LSU PressChandler Davidson

Protecting Minority Voters
Chandler Davidson (Editor)
Chandler Davidson
Research Professor and Tsanoff Chair of Public Affairs Emeritus Ph.D., Princeton University