By Jon Dougherty
A new study by a Left-leaning organization regarding voter identification laws debunks several narratives long-pushed by Democrats that they not only suppress voting but that such laws hamper the ability of minorities to cast ballots.
The study, from the National Bureau of Economic Research, found that voter ID laws had no appreciable negative impact on voter turnout, a finding which remained true even after factoring in different races and party affiliations.
Left-wing economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman said in 2013 that he was a research associate for the NBER, calling it a “neutral transmission channel” that was certainly anything but ‘right-wing.’
As for the study, written by Enrico Cantoni from the University of Bologna in Italy and Vincent Pons from Harvard Business School, the researchers argued:
[W]hile strict ID laws create additional costs for people without ID, those who want to vote can acquire it before the election, and it is unclear what share of non-ID-holders would vote otherwise. Moreover, other citizens may become more likely to vote if the laws enhance their confidence in the fairness of the election, similarly to the participation boost of improving beliefs about ballot secrecy.
In addition, the authors found:
Using a nationwide individual-level panel dataset 2008–2016 and a difference-in-differences (DD) design, we find that strict ID laws have no significant negative effect on registration or turnout, overall or for any subgroup defined by age, gender, race, or party affiliation. Most importantly, they do not decrease the participation of ethnic minorities relative to whites. The laws’ overall effects remain close to zero and non-significant whether the election is a midterm or presidential election, and whether the laws are the more restrictive type that stipulate photo IDs.
Cantoni and Pons said the data they examined included “the vast majority of voting-age individuals” for the time period spanning from 2008 to 2016.
Time after time, Democrats have opposed voter ID laws on the basis that they “suppress voting” and negatively impact “minority communities.” Federal courts have agreed and have routinely struck down state laws requiring voters to produce identification before casting ballots as a way of ensuring that only people who have a legal right to vote can cast ballots.
Republicans have accused Democrats of opposing voter ID laws in order to promote voter fraud, which has been documented several times over the past few years alone.
The findings by Cantoni and Pons could serve as the basis for arguments by states in support of voter ID laws in future cases.
- Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10
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