Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin defends his state:
“It’s just disturbing that the chief justice of the United States would spew this kind of misinformation.... He’s wrong, and in fact what’s truly disturbing is not just the doctrinaire way he presented by the assertion, but when we went searching for an data that could substantiate what he was saying, the only thing we could find was a census survey pulled from 2010 … which speaks of noncitizen blacks...We have an immigrant population of black folks and many other folks. Mississippi has no noncitizen blacks, so to reach his conclusion, you have to rely on clearly flawed information.”I'm sure the Chief was relying on something. Anyone know what it was? In any case, the basic point is intact: There's a disconnect between the problem the act seeks to rectify and the conditions among the states today.
The 2010 tables show that Massachusetts does have a high discrepancy between turnout of white and black voters, but is in line with several other states, including Minnesota, Kansas and Washington, which actually has a wider ratio. The states are also similar on registration numbers. Additionally, the margin of error on each of these states’ data is over 10 percentage points, and many states on the list had populations of blacks so small, data wasn’t even available.
ADDED: Roberts was apparently referring to material in the dissenting opinion in the court below (the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals). The underlying data is from the Census Bureau. Nina Totenberg having talked to "Census officials" who explain why their data is unreliable, writes an article that I critique here.