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Strict Voter Identification Laws, Turnout, and Election Outcomes by Mark Hoekstra and Vijetha Koppa, published by The National Bureau of Economic Research:


Even under the extreme assumption that all voters without IDs were either fraudulent or would be disenfranchised by a strict voter ID law, the enactment of such a law would have only a very small effect on turnout. Similarly, under a range of conservative assumptions, very few election results could have been flipped due to a strict law.

Collectively, findings indicate that even if the worst fears of proponents or critics were true, strict identification laws are unlikely to have a meaningful impact on turnout or election outcomes.


Strict ID Laws Don’t Stop Voters: Evidence from a U.S. Nationwide Panel, 2008-2016 by Enrico Cantoni and Vincent Pons, published by The National Bureau of Economic Research:


U.S. states increasingly require identification to vote – an ostensive attempt to deter fraud that prompts complaints of selective disenfranchisement. These laws have no negative effect on registration or turnout, overall or for any group defined by race, gender, age, or party affiliation.

These results remain the same through a large number of specifications and cannot be attributed to mobilization against the laws, measured by campaign contributions and self-reported political engagement. Overall, efforts to reform voter ID laws may not have much impact on elections.


New Study Confirms Voter ID Laws Don’t Hurt Election Turnout by Hans A. von Spakovsky, published by The Heritage Foundation:


Between 2008 and 2016, voter ID laws had “no negative effect on registration or turnout, overall or for any specific group defined by race, gender, age or party affiliation.” The new study concluded that these results “cannot be attributed to mobilization against the laws,” contradicting critics who say election turnout has been sustained only by such campaigns.

According to the study, voter registration and turnout rates did not change to any significant extent after voter ID laws took effect. Out of the millions of registered voters the researchers studied over eight years, no statistically observable change in voting behavior could be attributed to voter ID laws.

The study didn’t find a statistically significant drop in registration rates in states that liberals falsely claim are improperly “purging” eligible voters from their rolls. Neither did an ID requirement discourage eligible voters from registering to vote.

Among a variety of minority groups and political affiliations, no significant change in turnout occurred after voter ID laws went into effect. It should be noted, though, that Hispanic voter turnout actually increased in states with ID requirements, when compared to states without them. Clearly, the decrease erroneously claimed by critics has not happened.


Faulty Data Fuel Challenges to Voter ID Laws by Don Palmer, published by The Heritage Foundation:


In case after case, plaintiffs challenging photo ID laws and critics of those laws have used highly inflated statistics of voters who allegedly lack an acceptable form of photo ID.

It is not surprising that such misleading statistics have been criticized by the U.S. Supreme Court and other federal appellate courts. Many litigants and critics of photo ID fail to conduct a comprehensive comparison of voter registration lists with databases listing other relevant categories of citizens (outside of current DMV databases) who possess other acceptable forms of ID.

The use of wildly inaccurate data inhibits a rational legislative or policy debate on the likely effect of photo identification laws and bleeds into the debate about other important election reform proposals across the country.

Policymakers and the public deserve the truth about the relatively small universe of affected voters, not inflammatory assertions that hundreds of thousands or millions of voters are going to be negatively affected by such laws.


[Last updated June 4, 2020]