The results of a new study released earlier this month categorically disprove the liberal talking point that voter identification laws suppress the vote, particularly among minorities, the youth, and the poor.
A paper, released by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), a nearly 100-year-old private non-profit research organization, indicated that voter ID laws have no discernible effect on voter turnout, regardless of age, race, sex, or party affiliation.
As of this month 35 states have voter ID laws, and of those, 17 require photo identification, according to BallotPedia.
Some states go further. Florida, for example, requires both photo and signature verification in order to cast a ballot.
Such laws do not affect either voter registration or participation at the polls on election day.
“... we find that strict ID laws have no significant negative effect on registration or turnout, overall or for any subgroup defined by age, gender, race, or party affiliation,” said Enrico Cantoni and Vincent Pons, the paper’s authors and NBER fellows.
Cantoni is an economics professor at the University of Bologna in Italy; Pons is a Harvard Business School professor.
“Most importantly, they do not decrease the participation of ethnic minorities relative to whites,” they continue. “The laws’ overall effects remain close to zero and non-significant whether the election is a midterm or presidential election, and whether the laws are the more restrictive type that stipulate photo IDs.”
The duo didn’t use any data source in their research that could be perceived as conservative.
“We measure voter turnout and registration using a novel individual-level panel dataset collected by Catalist, a U.S. company that provides data and data-related services to progressive organizations and has a long history of collaborating with academics,” they reported (emphasis added).
Their findings fly in the face of liberal perception. Satirist Ami Horowitz asked students at the University of California at Berkeley recently what they thought of such laws. They called voter ID laws “racist” and claimed they suppressed the minority vote “because they’re less likely to have state IDs.”
He then told African Americans in East Harlem what the students had said.
Everyone Horowitz met had photo identification in their possession and knew where and how to obtain it.
The students’ perceptions were no doubt planted by the previous administration, and reinforced by liberal media outlets.
During his last year in office, President Barack Obama claimed the United States was the only “advanced democracy” to make voting more difficult.
“We take enormous pride in the fact that we are the world’s oldest continuous democracy, and yet we systematically put up barriers and make it as hard as possible for our citizens to vote,” he said.
Eric Holder, Obama’s first attorney general, was even more outspoken on the subject, calling voter ID laws “un-American,” and claiming that such laws undermine the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Holder’s successor, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch agreed with MSNBC “Hardball” host Chris Matthews last year that voter ID laws were drafted to “screw the African American voter” and scare him away from the voting process.
“Yes, yes,” she replied, “and it’s nothing new.”
Wisconsin’s voter ID laws gave 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton yet one more excuse as to why she failed to win an election that pundits and pollsters claimed she couldn’t lose.
Speaking at Milwaukee's Riverside Theater in November 2017, she said that turnout among students, minorities, and the elderly at the polls was suppressed in states that had voter ID laws.
"In an election, which I remember well, was decided by a razor-thin margin, that makes a difference. This issue hasn't gotten enough attention. It is a civil rights issue," Clinton said.
Without surprise, the majority of the 15 states that require no identification whatsoever in order to cast a ballot are heavily Democratic, including New York, New Jersey, Minnesota, and California.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He’s also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter, who can often be found honing his skills at the range. To read more of his reports - Click Here.
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