It has been slightly more than a decade since the idea of “voter identification laws” have entered the national consciousness. A new study, one of the most expansive on this topic, looks at these laws and determines what we already knew: they’re a fraud. As we’ve reported before, these laws are a “solution without a problem” meant to disenfranchise voters, specifically those who don’t vote for Republicans.
The study, authored by researchers at UC San Diego and Bucknell University, looked at verified voting data from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study for elections from before and after voter ID laws were passed. “The analysis shows that strict identification laws have a differentially negative impact on the turnout of racial and ethnic minorities in primaries and general elections,” the abstract reads. They also found that these laws “skew democracy towards those on the political right.”
Their sample size, more than 600,000 Americans, is one of the largest ever for a study of this kind. Through their analysis they’ve found that these laws work precisely the way their critics warned they would.
From The Washington Post:
When we compare overall turnout in states with strict ID laws to turnout in states without these laws, we find no significant difference. That pattern matches with most existing studies. But when we dig deeper and look specifically at racial and ethnic minority turnout, we see a significant drop in minority participation when and where these laws are implemented.
Hispanics are affected the most: Turnout is 7.1 percentage points lower in general elections and 5.3 points lower in primaries in strict ID states than it is in other states. Strict ID laws mean lower African American, Asian American and multiracial American turnout as well. White turnout is largely unaffected.
They also found that the “turnout gap” between certain demographics are much higher in states with the strict voter identification laws. These gaps are nearly double for Latino, Asian, and Black voters when faced with voter id laws, in both primary and general elections.
If there was legitimate threat of voter results being affected by the kind of fraud showing an ID could fix, that would be one thing. Yet, that problem does not exist, so these laws are clearly attempts by a party in power to keep themselves there, perhaps in spite of the will of their constituents. And they are doing it at the expense of non-white voters, which undoubtedly colors the policies they will support.
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below.