An attorney warned that the voter ID law the North Carolina legislature passed “would discriminate against African Americans and Latinos” and it may bring about negative implications in the upcoming national elections.
The voter ID law, which went into effect on January 1, aimed to prevent voter fraud by requiring people to show a photo ID before they cast a ballot.
However, there was little evidence that voter fraud exists, causing critics to question Republicans if the move was an attempt to suppress minorities, who tend to be mostly poor and, therefore, could not afford to get a photo ID to support and vote for their Democratic candidates.
New evidence that voter ID laws ‘skew democracy’ in favor of white Republicans https://t.co/AFmFqM2Diw
— Sari Horwitz (@SariHorwitz) February 5, 2016
A recent study by the University of California, San Diego suggested that voter ID laws have negative implications on non-white voters, which affects the voting turnouts.
The most relevant study on the subject of voter fraud, by Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt, found only 31 unique incidents of voter fraud in a study of 1 billion votes cast, but it did not stop Republicans from passing strict voter ID laws since 2008.
But the new study on voter ID laws showed a significant decrease in the number of voters participating in the elections. Researchers studied and analyzed turnout in elections between 2008 and 2012 in states that did and did not apply voter ID laws. They found that these laws lessened the turnout not just among Democratic supporters, but among Republicans as well.
As Voting Begins, Several States’ Voter ID Laws Remain In Flux https://t.co/w92iTcaRkd
— NPR (@NPR) February 3, 2016
Previous research in the effects of implementing these laws revealed mixed results. According to The Washington Post, a 2014 report by the Government Accountability Office studied 10 of those previous studies and found out that “five showed no significant effect of voter ID laws on turnout, four found a significant decrease in turnout, and one found, paradoxically, that the laws increased turnout.”
Since most of the strictest voter ID laws were passed after 2008, the previous studies limited the researchers to measure the effects of implementing these laws to voter turnout.
The recent study by political scientists at the University of California controlled different factors that could possibly affect voter turnout including age, education, marital status, income, etc. The proponents also controlled some state laws that may impact voter’s involvement such as early voting. They also studied other factors such as race competitiveness and whether or not the election was held during a presidential race.
— CityLab (@CityLab) February 5, 2016
What they found included “substantial drops in turnout for minorities under strict voter ID laws.” They concluded that turnout for Hispanic voters was down by 10.8 points in states where strict photo ID laws were implemented, while for multiracial Americans, the turnout decreased by 12.8 points. It also revealed a “participation gap” between white and non-white voters.
It was also found that “Democratic turnout drops by an estimated 7.7 percentage points in general elections when strict photo identification laws are in place.” As for the Republicans, the turnout drops by 4.6 as well.
The research also revealed that while both parties are affected by the laws, the blow is more significant on the side of the Democrats.
“Strict photo identification laws have a differentially negative impact on the turnout of Hispanics, blacks, and mixed-race Americans in primaries and general elections,” the research concludes. “Voter ID laws skew democracy in favor of whites and those on the political right.”
Rosanell Eaton is a 94-year-old Activist who is Challenging the Voter ID Law
Critics have pointed out that the Voter ID law only discourages Democrat-leaning groups, such as Hispanics, African Americans, and multiracial Americans, who are experiencing poverty, to participate in the elections as not everyone has sufficient documents such as a driver’s license.
[Image by David Paul Morris/Getty Images]