A lot of the commentary on the voting laws that Republican legislatures are passing or considering holds that they will not only reduce turnout, but that reduce it more among blacks and other minorities. The Current Population Survey has a module on registration and voting (not who you voted for, just whether you voted) that includes a large enough sample to give state-level estimates of turnout by race and ethnicity. I looked at the relationship between voting rates in 2020 and the "cost of voting" index that I discussed in my last post. The regression results
White Black Hispanic Asian
Intercept 70.9 63.1 53.7 60.5
(0.6) (1.3) (1.1) (1.5)
COV -2.6 -1.3 -1.2 -1.3
(1.0) (1.9) (1.4) (2.1)
N 50 35 34 25
The cost of voting index wasn't computed for the District of Columbia, and group estimates were not reported for some states because of small numbers (less than about 50 people). Values of the cost of voting index range from -1.69 (Oregon) to 1.29 (Texas).
The estimated relationship is negative--less turnout where laws are more restrictive--but it's larger for whites than for any of the other groups. Given the standard errors, you can't be confident that there are really any differences among groups, and the relationship isn't necessarily causal. Still, these results don't support the idea that restrictive voting laws have more effect on blacks or other minorities.*
However, there are lots of laws and regulations that affect voting, and this index is just one attempt to reduce them to a single value. Another approach is to look at the differences in black and white voting rates by state. The largest and smallest ratios of white./black turnout rates:
Sampling error has a substantial effect on some of these estimates, so you can't put much weight on the position of any single state. The important point is that there is no pattern--I can't see anything that either group has in common, even if you allow for a couple of exceptions.
This connects to an issue that I discussed a few weeks ago: the nature of the contemporary Republican party. There are a number of historical examples of "how democracies die": fascism, the end of Reconstruction in the South, caudillismo. Most critics of the Republicans see them in these terms--e. g., they are disenfranchising black voters, just like the "redeemers" did in the 1890s. Other observers argue (correctly, in my view) that none of the examples really fit, and conclude (incorrectly) that there's not too much to worry about: it's just "one of many percolating dangers in the United States today." What's happened, I think, is that the Republican party has discovered a new way to be anti-democratic.