I am an assistant professor of political science at Stanford University where I am also a faculty affiliate with the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity and the Stanford Center for American Democracy. I received my PhD in political science from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and African American Studies from the University of South Carolina.

My research focuses primarily on the role identity plays in structuring political attitudes and behaviors in the U.S. I am especially interested in understanding how stigma shapes the politics of Black Americans, particularly as it relates to group members’ support for racialized punitive social policies. In other research projects, I examine the psychological and social roots of the racial divide in Americans’ reactions to officer-involved shootings and work to evaluate the meaningfulness of key political concepts, like ideological identification, among Black Americans.

My dissertation, "Policing Norms: Punishment and the Politics of Respectability Among Black Americans," was a co-winner of the 2020 Best Dissertation Award from the Political Psychology Section of the American Political Science Association.

Academic Appointments

Program Affiliations

  • Public Policy

2023-24 Courses

Stanford Advisees

All Publications

  • The Politics of Respectability and Black Americans' Punitive Attitudes AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW Jefferson, H. 2023
  • Beyond the Ballot Box: A Conversation About Democracy and Policing in the United States ANNUAL REVIEW OF POLITICAL SCIENCE Jefferson, H., Gandara, J., Cohen, C. J., Gonzalez, Y. M., Thorpe, R. U., Weaver, V. M. 2023; 26: 1-32
  • Seeing Blue in Black and White: Race and Perceptions of Officer-Involved Shootings PERSPECTIVES ON POLITICS Jefferson, H., Neuner, F. G., Pasek, J. 2021; 19 (4): 1165-1183
  • All-mail voting in Colorado increases turnout and reduces turnout inequality. Electoral studies Bonica, A., Grumbach, J. M., Hill, C., Jefferson, H. 2021; 72: 102363


    The COVID-19 crisis has generated interest in all-mail voting (AMV) as a potential policy solution for avoiding in-person elections. However, the quality of AMV implementation has varied greatly across states, leading to mixed results in previous research. We exploit the understudied 2014 implementation of AMV in Colorado to estimate the effect on turnout for all registered voters, along with age, racial, education, income and wealth, and occupational subgroups. Using large voter file data and a difference-in-differences design within individuals, we find a positive overall turnout effect of approximately 8 percentage points-translating into an additional 900,000 ballots being cast between 2014 and 2018. Effects are significantly larger among lower-propensity voting groups, such as young people, blue-collar workers, voters with less educational attainment, and voters of color. The results suggest that researchers and policymakers should look to Colorado's AMV approach as an effective model for boosting aggregate turnout and reducing voting disparities across subgroups.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.electstud.2021.102363

    View details for PubMedID 36540291

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC9756790