Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Schraufnagel, Scot D.

Degree Name

B.A. (Bachelor of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Political Science


This research tests whether minorities are underrepresented in state legislatures due to restrictive state election laws that hinder voting. Some states like Oregon make it easier for citizens to vote and other states like Texas make it more difficult. The Cost of Voting Index (COVI) is a measurement of the electoral/institutional restrictiveness of each state and values are available for presidential election years from 1996 to 2020. Previous research has revealed that the amount of voting restrictions that citizens face makes it harder for them to vote (Li, Pomante Schraufnagel, 2018). What is less understood is whether restrictions hurt Blacks and Latinos running for statewide offices. This research will test whether the COVI can help predict voting margins, which in turn will reveal how successful minority candidates will be in states that are less restrictive or more restrictive. Broadly, the purpose of this research is to understand the electoral success of minorities and how the COVI helps to explain their success. Most specifically, the research question I examine is, does the restrictiveness of each state’s electoral/institutional climate help explain the relative underrepresentation of minorities in government? In other words, can the restrictiveness of state election laws help explain a lack of representation of Blacks and Latinos in elected offices?


30 pages




Northern Illinois University

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