Study Shows That Voter ID Laws Do Keep Minorities From Voting

Republicans and Democrats have spent years arguing over whether voter ID laws help or a hinder the democratic process Ė is it a necessary step to prevent voter fraud or just a clever ruse to prevent some minorities from voting? According to new research featured in the Washington Post, whatever the intent, the disparity between white and non-white voters does in fact grow when a state passes voter ID laws.

Professors from UCSD and Bucknell University combed through data compiled by the Cooperative Congressional Election Study between the years of 2006 and 2014 for all elections in the 10 states with the strictest voter ID laws. From there, they could see the fluctuation in participation at whatever point the laws were adopted.

While other studies have looked at the number of minority voters that hypothetically could be disenfranchised by new voter ID rules because they are less likely to have the necessary photo identification, this particular study takes a different approach and looks at how voting rates actually changed in states where voter ID requirements became protocol.

Although it was true that voter participation in these states did not take a dive overall, when the researchers examined the participation of different ethnic groups more closely, thatís where they saw a stark difference. States with the harshest voter ID laws saw a dip in participation from African American, Asian American and Hispanic American voters.

Moreover, the gap between white voter participation and minority voter participation is worse in states with strict voter ID laws. In other words, you can see a higher percentage of non-white voters going to the polls when the identification laws arenít there to create an obstacle.

Voter ID laws actually hit Hispanics the hardest. Since states adopted these laws, participation from Hispanic voters dropped 7.1 percent in general elections.

If you want to take race out of it entirely, though, the researchers are happy to provide you that data, as well. With the advent of voter ID measures, the gap between liberal and conservative voters jumped from 7.7 to 20.4 points, giving conservatives an overwhelming advantage at the polls in these states.

Is it really any wonder why Republicans seem to be the only group pushing for these ID laws? Even if you want to argue itís not racially motivated, itís certainly motivated by partisanship and a desire to give conservative candidates an extra advantage in elections.

Thatís why, despite virtually no evidence to suggest that voter fraud is anything but extremely rare, Republicans keep screaming that voter fraud is a problem. It gives them the excuse to pass more restrictive voter laws, like these ID measures, to prevent people who are unlikely to vote for their party from participating.

Thereís nothing democratic about devising a system intentionally designed to prevent marginalized people from participating.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Marie W
Marie W1 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill1 years ago

These studies are bunk! Here in Virginia, the DMV issues photo ids for only $5. ANY one can afford that!

ERIKA S2 years ago


Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld2 years ago

Ronald Walker,

In the 2012 election, Black voters turned out in higher percentages than whites in twenty states. Compare that to thirteen states in which whites turned out in higher percentages. Interestingly, the Black turnout was proportionally higher in the states with strict voter ID laws (photo required); Indiana, Virginia, Tennessee, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Mississippi. The only exception was Kansas, were turnout was similar.

Roberto M
Roberto MARINI2 years ago

thank you for this article.

Janis K
Janis K2 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

RONALD Walker2 years ago

So far the voter ID law has not proven it work's! What the Republicans want is an autocratic system! Republicans can't win over minority voters so they are trying and it's working to have only white votes. The same system that South Africa once had!

John W
John W2 years ago

Clare O,

"John W claims that nobody on Care2 says a word against Mexico. That's not the case John, if you look for an article on avocado growers being forced to pay to gangs. And if you look for comments about why Mexicans and other Latino people are so keen to go to work in USA in the first place."

Context is very important, I didn't mean no one on Care2 criticises Mexico or that there was no grounds for criticism.

I meant that no one on Care2 criticised Mexico for having strict ID laws. If they have, please provide a link and I will retract my comment.

Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld2 years ago

Mary B.,
You really showed those Republicans. That was one less vote for the Democrats in Wisconsin. If many more follow your lead, the Republicans will continue to gain seats.

Mary B
Mary B2 years ago

Continued from below :
So I ended up not voteing and as I went out the door I said to the pole watcher "Voter suppression right here on the ground in our little township. This is what it looks like, and the republicans are going to OWN it."