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Voter ID Laws Result in Fewer Non-White People Voting and Favor Republicans, Says Study

The authors of the study say that critics of the controversial laws are right: Requiring voters to show photo ID before casting ballots tilts election results rightward.
February 4, 2016, 7:27pm

A new study from the University of California San Diego found that voter ID laws directly discourage minority voters, effectively tipping the scales toward Republicans and the white people who support them, the Washington Postreports.

These laws are generally passed by Republicans who claim they want to stop what they say is a scourge of voter fraud cases by forcing people to show a photo ID before they cast a ballot. But there have been barely any documented cases of voter fraud, leading critics to accuse right wingers of attempting to make it difficult for minorities—who tend to be poorer than whites and therefore less likely to have documentation like driver's licenses—to vote for Democrats.

There have been studies of voter ID laws and voter turnout before, some of which failed to find a correlation, but this UCSD paper argues that those studies didn't find a connection because they were done before the strictest ID laws went into effect. The authors are pretty confident: "The analysis shows that strict photo identification laws have a differentially negative impact on the turnout of Hispanics, Blacks, and mixed-race Americans in primaries and general elections," they write. "Voter ID laws skew democracy in favor of whites and those on the political right."

The study comes as a federal judge in Winston-Salem is deliberating over whether or not to uphold a 2013 North Carolina voter ID law following a suit from the NAACP over the law's alleged discriminatory effects.

Photo via Flickr user redjar