We’ve had more than our fair share of discussions here on the subject of voter ID laws. I’ll confess to being perpetually confused over the objections raised by opponents. One of the most common complaints is that such laws will depress voter turnout, particularly among minorities. But a new study released this month shows that these claims simply don’t hold water. Comparisons were made between states with and without voter ID laws, measuring voter turnout before and after the laws went into effect. The result? Turnout numbers stubbornly showed no statistically significant changes. (Free Beacon)
Strict voter ID laws do not suppress turnout, a new paper finds, regardless of sex, race, Hispanic identity, or party affiliation…
In total, 10 states, ranging from Georgia to Wisconsin, require voters to show ID in order to vote. Seven of those states require a photo ID, and three do not. An additional 25 states “request” that voters display ID, but may still permit them to vote on a provision ballot if they cannot. The remaining states “use other methods to verify the identity of voters,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The new research, from an economics professor at the University of Bologna and another at Harvard Business School, indicates that “strict” voting laws of the type implemented in those ten states do not have a statistically significant effect on voter turnout.
Frankly, I’m shocked that this study was actually completed and published. I would have thought that the powers that be at Harvard and other schools would have squashed it when the data failed to support the common progressive narrative.
But should anyone really have been surprised? This is one of the many puzzling arguments I mentioned at the top and these results reflect what’s always seemed like common sense to me. The claim, as mentioned in the linked article, is that such laws would “disenfranchise otherwise eligible voters—many of whom would be poor and of color—who are unable to easily obtain ID.”
But how would that work? We can break this down into two categories: those who are poor and minorities. As far as being poor goes, any state with a voter ID law has to offer a free, acceptable identification card. Otherwise, the law would serve as an unconstitutional poll tax, and laws without such provisions have already been struck down. If it’s a question of you being too poor to afford a bus ticket to make it to the DMV to order your ID, you’re probably not going to be able to make it to your polling place to vote either.
That leaves us with the racial component, and possibly a gender question as well. The steps required to obtain an ID are the same for everyone regardless of race, gender or any other criteria. It doesn’t cost more for a Hispanic voter to obtain an ID than a white person. There is no discount or special express line at the DMV for men. We don’t have secret DMV offices for Christians that aren’t open to Jews, Muslims or atheists. (Although in California there actually is a secret DMV office that’s only used by members of the legislature and their staffers.)
The only people who generally wind up without some form of ID are those who, for whatever reason, don’t want one. And that’s an individual decision they can make, but it comes with repercussions. We’re not just talking about voting here. There are any number of things you simply can’t do without some valid form of identification. But it can’t be affecting too many people or the results of this study wouldn’t have come out the way they did.