States that imposed identification requirements on voters reduced turnout at the polls in the 2004 presidential election by about 3 percent, and by two to three times as much for minorities, new research suggests.
The study, prepared by scholars at Rutgers and Ohio State Universities for the federal Election Assistance Commission, supports concerns among voting-rights advocates that blacks and Hispanics could be disproportionately affected by ID requirements. But federal officials say more research is needed to draw firmer conclusions about the effects on future elections.
Tim Vercellotti, a professor at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University who helped conduct the study, said that in the states where voters were required to sign their names or present identifying documents like utility bills, blacks were 5.7 percent less likely to vote than in states where voters simply had to say their names.
Dr. Vercellotti said Hispanics appeared to be 10 percent less likely to vote under those requirements, while the combined rate for people of all races was 2.7 percent.
"Do people not even go to vote because they don't want to hassle with the requirements, or is this occurring at the polling place, when they're told they can't vote without further ID?" Dr. Vercellotti asked. "If we can answer this question, then policymakers can develop procedures and voter awareness campaigns to mitigate it."
advocates of indiana's new voter id law have long insisted that this doesn't happen (or, more abstractly, that there's "no evidence" that it happens). it should be interesting to see whether they acknowledge this study, or whether it gets any play in indiana. ¶