Barreto, Nuno and Sanchez on voting ID requirements and minority turnout
In 2004 Arizona voters approved Proposition 200, which among other things, strictly enforced new requirements that identification be shown at the polling place before a citizen could vote. Similar laws have since been proposed and passed in many other states, typically related to charges of vote fraud, and often times tied into the divisive debate regarding undocumented immigrants. Changes like these to electoral laws are central to many long-standing theories in the political participation literature. However, very little is known about the effects of voter identification (ID) laws. Our manuscript analyzes the impact that new voter identification laws may have on both the participation rates of particular segments of the electorate, as well as on election outcomes in the United States.
Specifically, through the use of a unique dataset from the 2006 elections, we analyze the impact that voter identification laws have on immigrant and minority voters in California, New Mexico and Washington. Exit polls in each state asked voters to check which forms of identification they would be able to provide if voter ID laws were passed in their state. Controlling for age, income, and education, we find that immigrant and minority voters are significantly less likely to be able to provide multiple forms of identification, such as a copy of their original birth certificate, or a recent bank statement. In full, we asked respondents about their ability to provide approximately six unique forms of identification, and immigrant and minority voters were consistently less likely to have each form of identification. Because our data reflects the identification trends of actual voters, not just adult citizens, the findings go far to suggest that voter identification laws could immediately disenfranchise many Latino, Asian and African American citizens.
Matt Bareto, Stephen Nuno and Gabriel R. Sanchez, “Voter ID Requirements and the Disenfranchisement of Latino, Black and Asian voters,” unpublished paper. Available here.
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