Can Voter ID Laws Be Administered in a Race-Neutral Manner? Evidence from the City of Boston in 2008
Rachael V. Cobb
Suffolk University - Department of Government
D. James Greiner
Harvard Law School
Kevin M. Quinn
UC Berkeley School of Law
June 14, 2010
Quarterly Journal of Political Science, Vol. 7, No 1, pp 1-33
Is it feasible in the current United States to administer voter identification laws in a race-neutral manner? In this paper, we studied a jurisdiction and an election in which such laws would be unlikely to pose issues of racial difference. We also used state-of-the-art field methods and statistical techniques to account for sources of uncertainty that previous studies had suppressed, including survey non-response. Our results are discouraging. We find strong evidence that Hispanic voters, and reasonably strong evidence that black voters, were asked for identification at higher rates than white voters. The magnitudes of the differences are troubling. We suggest that it may not be feasible to administer voter ID laws in a race-neutral manner in the current United States, and we explore the theoretical and legal consequences of such a conclusion.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 34
Keywords: Voter ID, exit poll, multiple imputation, Bayesian hierarchical modeling, voting rights law
JEL Classification: Z10Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: June 14, 2010 ; Last revised: March 29, 2012
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