Monday, October 3, 2011

IRCPPS in the Links: ID Requirements and Vote Suppression

In the Monkey Cage, John Sides discusses the impact of identification laws on voter turnout:
A new Brennan Center study—which is getting front-page news coverage—attempts to count the number of citizens that could be adversely elected by new laws requiring voters to have photo identification.  But do these laws actually reduce voter turnout?

...[many] studies do not find any negative effect of identification laws on turnout.  Here is a one.  And here is another, by Robert Erikson and Lorraine Minnite.  I’ll quote from their conclusions:
The moral is simple. We should be wary of claims—from all sides of the controversy—regarding turnout effects from voter ID laws…The effects may be there. By all tests there is nothing to suggest otherwise. But the data are not up to the task of making a compelling statistical argument.
The Brennan Center has a list of studies here.
None of this is to say that voter identification laws are unproblematic.  It is just difficult to prove that they are associated with lower turnout.