GAO Study Finds Voter ID Laws Reduced Turnout in Tennessee, Kansas

by - October 09, 2014

GAO Report here.  


States that toughened their voter identification laws saw steeper drops in election turnout than those that did not, with disproportionate falloffs among black and younger voters, a nonpartisan congressional study released Wednesday concluded. As of June, 33 states have enacted laws obligating voters to show a photo ID at the polls, the study said. Republicans who have pushed the legislation say the requirement will reduce fraud, but Democrats insist the laws are a GOP effort to reduce Democratic turnout on Election Day.
Source: Study: Voter ID laws hit minorities - Associated Press - POLITICO.com


Requiring voters to show a photo ID at the polls does lower turnout, Congress’ nonpartisan watchdog concluded in a major report released Wednesday that said young, black and newly registered voters were most likely to stay home. By contrast, Government Accountability Office analysts said they were not able to figure out how much voter fraud — the problem voter ID laws are meant to combat — is actually going on.
Source: Requiring voters to show a photo ID at the polls does lower turnout, Congress’ nonpartisan watchdog concluded in a major report released Wednesday that said young, black and newly registered voters were most likely to stay home. By contrast, Government Accountability Office analysts said they were not able to figure out how much voter fraud — the problem voter ID laws are meant to combat — is actually going on.


The GAO report, requested by Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.) and other Senate Democrats, found voter ID rules reduced turnout by 1.9% to 3.2% over several elections in the two states selected for study, Kansas and Tennessee. Participation fell disproportionately further among voters age 23 and younger, voters who had been registered for less than one year, and African-American voters, the study found. “A 2% effect from voter ID is pretty significant,” said Stanford law professor Nate Persily, former research director for the bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration. “The magnitude is much larger than I would have thought.” The 206-page report examined 10 prior studies on the effects of voter ID laws. But the GAO’s statisticians and social scientists also conducted original research, focusing on Kansas and Tennessee, they said, because those states adopted voter ID without making other major voting changes, increasing the likelihood changes in turnout didn’t spring from other factors. After comparing Kansas and Tennessee results with those in other states, the GAO found turnout fell by statistically significant percentages that “were attributable to changes in those two states’ voter ID requirements.” The Kansas and Tennessee secretaries of state, both Republicans, disputed the conclusions.
Source: GAO Study Finds Voter ID Laws Reduced Turnout in Tennessee, Kansas - Washington Wire - WSJ

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