Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2013

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Political Science

First Advisor

Rocha, Rene R.

First Committee Member

Tolbert, Caroline J.

Second Committee Member

Osborn, Tracy

Third Committee Member

Townsend-Bell, Erica

Fourth Committee Member

Connerly, Charles


The purpose of this dissertation is to provide a comprehensive explanation of how race continues to affect the origins and consequences of electoral structures in American cities. The existing literature presents few answers regarding how race, specifically the racial context, affects attempts to modify the existing electoral structures at the local level. Although scholars have examined how electoral structures affect African American and Latino representation on city councils, few studies have evaluated how electoral structures determine the emergence of African American and Latino candidates in these elections. I address these gaps in the literature by providing a comprehensive examination of how race affects attempts to modify existing electoral structure and how once they are adopted, certain electoral structures affect both the decisions of minority candidates to run for city council seats and their success. I examine the following questions in my analyses: what is the impact of racial diversity upon attempts to change existing electoral structures? How do electoral structures affect minority candidate emergence and the outcomes during city council elections? I use several types of data including a public opinion survey, a nationwide survey of city officials and city council election data to complete my analyses. I conclude that race and electoral structures continue to share a unique relationship where one factor continues to affect the other at the expense of African American and Latinos throughout cities in the U.S.


ix, 163 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 149-163).


Copyright 2013 Natasha Ernst Altema McNeely