In one case. The 4th District Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that Wisconsin’s voter ID requirement did not violate the state constitution (Source). The court ruled that the League of Women Voters, who brought the case, presented no evidence that the new requirements presented a burden to voters. This case was contrasted with a similar case brought by the NAACP, who allege at least 300,000 voters could be disenfranchised (Source). Since there are other cases involving voter ID, this ruling doesn’t settle the issue. You can read the full ruling here.
During the debate over Voter ID, which I have endured ever since I began working in and around the Pink Building (about a decade now), photo ID requirements have been compared to poll taxes; the implication being that photo ID requirements would have a similar effect on turnout.
So, what were the effects of the poll taxes? In Texas, after the implemention of the poll tax, turnout dropped by over one-third (Wilkison, p. 169). In 1904, Cecil Lyon, a TX Republican leader, wrote to Theodore Roosevelt that “out of a colored population of some 650,000 not more than 25,000 qualified voters” (Barr, pp. 207-08). It should be noted that V.O. Key noted a sharp decline in Texas voter turnout began prior to the poll tax (Key, p. 534-35).
Pennsylvania Judge Robert Simpson recently ruled that the state’s Voter ID law could be implemented in time for Election Day (Source). The judge reportedly stated that the petitioners had not established that disenfranchisement as a result of the law would be inevitable or immediate. You can read his opinion here [pdf].
nowwithbmiller states, “Ladies and gentleman, this is how Mitt Romney will win the race.” I’m sure this a common sentiment among many, and one that I have seen expressed here, on Twitter and other media outlets; however, it’s not really an accurate assessment of the effects of the Pennsylvania’s Voter ID law.
Regardless of what partisans on either side think, this isn’t likely to help Romney much in turning Pennsylvania into a swing state, as we can see from Nate Silver’s recent post on the subject, which I discussed last month. At this time, I will quote some of Silver’s observations.
On sensational reporting vs accurate reporting of Voter ID law effects:
News media accounts, like some of those about the new voter ID laws in Pennsylvania, sometimes seize on the most dramatic estimates of the effects of these laws — rather than the most accurate ones.
On the possible effect in 2012:
Pennsylvania, for instance, went from having no voter ID laws to a strict photo ID requirement. Based on the academic studies, I estimate that this will reduce turnout by about 2.4 percent as a share of registered voters. And based on my formula to convert changes in turnout to changes in the popular vote, I estimate that this would reduce President Obama’s margin against Mitt Romney by a net of 1.2 percentage points.
On what this effect means:
The effects of the adjustment are ultimately fairly minor. In Pennsylvania, for instance, it reduced Mr. Obama’s chances of winning the state to 82.6 percent from 84.2 percent, according to the model’s estimate. Still, it makes Pennsylvania a little closer, and slightly increases the chance that it will be the tipping point state in the election.
Long story short: there could be a potential reduction in turnout of 2.4 percent of registered voters [198,535 voters (Source)]; however, this does not significantly increase Romney’s chances of winning the state, and any potential reduction in turnout can be offset by provisional balloting, etc.
Republican voter suppression in effect. They want you have as many hurdles as possible, scare as many old people and minorities. The poll tax is essentially back.
Except this is a nationwide trend, as the Washington Post article notes, and voter ID laws have only been passed in a few states (and in some of those few, the laws have not gone into effect, because they require clearance from the Justice Department, which they have not received, e.g., Texas and South Carolina).
The article also identifies decreased early voting as a dilemma; however, as previously discussed on this blog, reducing the early voting period doesn’t really effect voter turnout, and in fact, early voting may actually decrease turnout.
And among those asked about the issue, such as Antonio Gonzalez of the William C. Velasquez Institute, the explanation seems to be job losses and home foreclosure, which have lead to dislocation/migration (which in turn has lead to a decrease in voter registration because people have re-registered).
According to a Houston Chronicle report, that seems to be the problem in at least 16 Texas counties, where a review of their records by Judicial Watch showed more voters on the rolls than there were actual voters in the county. One of the biggest discrepancies (as a percentage) was in Loving County, where there are only 40 eligible voters, but 65 on the voter rolls.
As the article notes, this has been a problem since the 90’s, because many counties, particularly rural counties, lack the time and manpower to regularly update the voter rolls, which is an issue that I have discussed before (here and here); however, there are other factors as well, such as “snowbirds” and college students who vote in one county but are considered residents of another county by the U.S. Census.
The one serious issue (imho) mentioned in the article was that of people who return to a county to vote even if they live somewhere else. This was an issue in a recent election contest in Texas, where there were some voters who lived in a different county in Texas, but continued to vote in Travis County.
You may remember this reply to a post claiming 953 dead people voted in S. Carolina’s GOP primary.
Luckily, the Executive Director of the S. Carolina Election Commission testified on this issue.
According to her testimony, 37,000 people in the state have been identified as deceased. Of those 37,000, only 953 ballots have been cast in the names of those deceased. Based on this finding, they checked the list of 37,000 presumed deceased to see if any of them requested absentee ballots for the 2012 primary. They found 10 who had requested absentee ballots; all 10 are alive and well.
This kind of thing happens: deceased voters are not removed from the rolls, voters are presumed to be dead when they are - in fact - alive, etc.
(h/t Election Updates)