How many Americans lack photo ID? Part II
One warning: four of the nine references above source a NYU/Brennen Center survey. I find those references somewhat less persuasive than the others [..]
Because of this, I looked for more data. And I found a source that seems significantly more thorough:
THE DISPROPORTIONATE IMPACT OF VOTER ID REQUIREMENTS ON THE ELECTORATE " NEW EVIDENCE FROM INDIANA
PREPARED FOR PRESENTATION AT: 2008 APSA ANNUAL CONFERENCE, BOSTON, MA, AUGUST 29, 2008
Matt A. Barreto, University of Washington
Stephen A. Nuño, Northern Arizona University
Gabriel R. Sanchez, University of New Mexico
"The state of Indiana has the most stringent voting requirements in the nation, as voters are presently required to present a photo identification issued by the federal or state government in order to cast a ballot. Similar laws have been proposed and pursued in many other states, typically related to charges of vote fraud, and often times tied into the divisive debates on undocumented immigrants or African American felons. However, very little empirical evidence exists about the effects of voter identification laws [..]. [F]ew studies have empirically tested the real world consequences of voter identification laws [..]. In this study, we assess whether all eligible voters have equal access to valid photo identification [..]."
"[W]e fielded a unique public opinion survey in 2007 in the state of Indiana to determine the impact of voter identification laws on several demographic groups of voters; African Americans, the elderly, the less educated, and the poor. Specifically, we asked registered voters and eligible non-registered adults whether or not they had a current and up to date ID card issued by the state of Indiana containing their full name. [..]
The registered voter sample included a random statewide component (n=500), and oversamples of African American registered voters (n=300) as well as low-income registered voters (n=200). These two oversamples [..] provid[e] much greater reliability in the estimates reported among these specific sub-populations. However, it is important to note that the oversamples do not skew or misrepresent the overall picture for the state of Indiana, [..] because the statewide data is weighted so that no one group is over-represented. In the final data, we weight each demographic group to its appropriate share of the total Indiana population.
In addition, a sample of non-registered voters was obtained [..]. In full, 1,000 interviews were collected among registered voters, and 500 interviews among non-registered adults.
Defining Valid Photo Identification
The state of Indiana requires that a precinct voter show identification at the polling place that meets four key requirements: (1) has a photo of the voter; (2) contains an expiration date that is current; (3) is issued by the State of Indiana; and (4) has the full legal name of the voter that matches the voter registration records.
Column 3 in tables 1.1. and 1.2 in this study on Indiana list the share of those having a valid and up-to-date state ID with their full legal name:
All eligible adults 81%
All registered voters 84%
Likely voters 85%
White eligible adults 83%
White registered voters 85%
Black eligible adults 72%
Black registered voters 81%
Age 18-34 80%
Age 35-54 85%
Age 55-69 86%
Age 70+ 81%
High school grads 80%
College graduates 89%
Income less than $40K 81%
Income over $80K 84%
"Because we present data for actual registered voters, the findings go far to suggest that voter identification laws in Indiana disenfranchise many citizens who are entitled to full voting rights."
"We find that age, race, and income significantly impact the likelihood of having proper identification required to vote under the Indiana statute."
"The results in Indiana are consistent with findings of Barreto, Nuño and Sanchez (2007), who also found that minority, low-income, and less educated residents are less likely to have access to valid photo identification."
"While likely voters are more likely to have valid ID, it is important to note that [even] about 15% of those who voted in three consecutive federal elections do not have the full proper ID credentials and could be challenged or turned away from voting in 2008."
"[A] significant gap in access to valid ID exists among White and Black registered voters, which is even more pronounced among the overall adult population [..]. Most notably, we find that the racial gap in access to valid photo identification persists among those most likely to vote. This is the strongest evidence to suggest that Black voters would disproportionately be turned away from voting under the strict Indiana rules."
"79.8% of Black likely voters [those who voted in the 2002, 2004, and 2006 elections] had a valid photo ID with their full legal name versus 85.1% of White likely voters. Under strict enforcement of the Indiana law, out of every 100 Blacks who go to the polls to vote in 2008, 20 could be turned away, while among Whites, 15 of 100 would be turned away [..]."
"Younger voters and older voters were both less likely to have valid ID compared to voters in the middle categories. [..] 78% of registered voters age 18-34 had proper ID and 80.6% of those over age 70 did. In contrast, [..] 85.9% of those between the ages of 55-69 [had ID]."
"Education and Income also revealed discrepancies in access to valid photo identification. Compared to college graduates, those with just a high school degree were 9.5 percentage points less likely to have access to valid ID."
"Slicing the data by party affiliation demonstrates that Democrats have lower rates of access to valid photo ID [..]. Among registered voters with valid ID, 41.6% consider themselves Republican and 32.5% are Democrats. In contrast, among registered voters without proper ID, 34.8% are Republican and 38.0% are Democrats."
"The descriptive frequency statistics [..] by themselves [..] do not prove that the 5-10 point gaps reported are statistically significant. In order to determine whether or not the differences are in fact real, we conducted probit regression analysis on each of the four dependent variables which measure access to ID. [..] Across all four measures of photo identification Whites are statistically significantly more likely to have access to valid ID [..]. Similarly, Blacks were found to be statistically less likely to have access to ID. [..] Income is positively and significantly associated with access to ID [..]. Republicans are statistically more likely to have access to valid ID as compared to Democrats and Independents."
"While the ability of rigid voting requirements to achieve the goal of reducing voter fraud is debatable at best, our results from Indiana clearly indicate that these requirements have significant electoral implications. Not only does the Indiana law disproportionately impact the communities most vulnerable to changes in the electoral process, there is also a clear partisan bias associated with these laws as well."
What was the stricter voter law intended to achieve?
"[W]hen the Indiana legislature enacted a statute [..] requiring voters to present photo identification upon voting in person [..] Crawford, et al, challenged the law as unconstitutional on its face [..]." The case eventually ended up in the United States Supreme Court, which ruled against the challenge:
"The Court noted that preventing voter fraud, and in particular voter impersonation at polling places, is a legitimate state interest because Indiana’s voter rolls contain the names of deceased voters and some no longer living in the state, and also because the NVRA’s requirement that driver’s license applications serve as voter registration forms has inflated voter rolls.
Consistent with our discussion here, the Court conceded that there is no evidence that this type of fraud has occurred, but found that its occurrence is possible because it has occurred in other parts of the country. The Court also found that the state also has a legitimate interest in protecting public confidence in elections [..]. Despite the lack of empirical evidence of fraud, the Court found that these interests outweigh the burdens the law imposes on voters."
"Our research of extant findings in this area clearly indicate that voter impersonation is extremely rare, and more importantly strict laws such as the Indiana case upheld by the Supreme Court do not effectively limit the much more rampant mail-in based fraud."
"While the state interest of preventing voting fraud is an important one, our results here question whether this interest should be advanced despite apparent evidence that this ostensible method of fraud prevention disproportionately impacts specific segments of the electorate."