“The turnout gap between whites and racial minorities is larger than you think — and hard to change”

Bernard Fraga for the Monkey Cage:

But Democrats confront a major challenge: People of color vote at a substantially lower rate than whites. In my new book, “The Turnout Gap: Race, Ethnicity, and Political Inequality in a Diversifying America,” I explain why. Below are four takeaways on racial differences in who votes…..

3. Vote suppression does not explain the turnout gap

What explains these persistent disparities in turnout between minorities and whites? Many focus on “vote suppression,” or election practices such as voter identification laws, reductions in early voting and precinct closures — all of which are often compared to Jim Crow-era restrictions. Indeed, voter suppression is implemented in places where reducing minority turnout would help Republicans.

But do these laws actually have a large impact on minority turnout? That is not clear. In “The Turnout Gap,” I show that states with these policies actually tend to have higher minority turnout, both before and after implementation. In a separate study of Texas, Michael Miller and I find that voter identification laws disproportionately affect minorities, but the effects are nowhere near large enough to explain the turnout gap.


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