I haven’t been paying much attention the Texas Voter ID trial (frankly because I heard all these arguments for 48hrs straight during the 2009 legislative session), but Nate Silver has a good post about measuring the effects of voter ID laws on turnout. As Silver points out, studies suggest the photo ID laws reduce turnout by about 2 percent, but there is disagreement about the significance of this reduction. That is, will such laws have an impact on our elections, or will the effects be mitigated by other factors (such as provisional ballot voting or higher turnout)? Mr Silver used the available studies to look at the possible impact in the states which have voter ID laws (though some states have passed voter ID laws, they have not gone into effect, e.g., Texas), and he found the effects on the potential outcomes to be relatively minor. When discussing voter ID and other such laws, it’s important to keep things like this in mind, because too often there is an abundance of hyperbole which doesn’t match the available facts.
(Source: The New York Times)