NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

VOTER IDENTIFICATION LAWS DO NOT REDUCE TURNOUT

September 13, 2007

Controlling for factors that influence voter turnout, voter identification laws largely do not have the claimed negative impact on voter turnout based on state-to-state comparisons, say David B. Muhlhausen, a senior policy analyst, and Keri Weber Sikich, a research assistant, both with the Heritage Foundation.

When statistically significant and negative relationships are found, the effects are so small that the findings offer little policy significance:

  • White survey respondents in photo identification states are 0.002 percent less likely to report voting than white respondents from states that only required voters to state their name.
  • African-American respondents in non-photo identification states are 0.012 percent less likely to report voting than African-American respondents from states that only required voters to state their name.

In other cases, no effect was found:

  • In general, respondents in photo identification and non-photo identification states are just as likely to report voting compared to respondents from states that only required voters to state their name.
  • African-American respondents in photo identification states are just as likely to report voting compared to African-American respondents from states that only required voters to state their name.
  • Hispanic respondents in photo identification states are just as likely to report voting compared to Hispanic respondents from states that only required voters to state their name.

In sum, voter identification requirements, such as requiring non-photo and photo identification, have virtually no suppressive effect on reported voter turnout.

Source: David B. Muhlhausen and Keri Weber Sikich, "New Analysis Shows Voter Identification Laws Do Not Reduce Turnout," Center for Data Analysis Report #07-04, Heritage Foundation, September 11, 2007.

 

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