Who Votes Without Identification? Using Affidavits from Michigan to Learn About the Potential Impact of Strict Photo Voter Identification Laws
41 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2018 Last revised: 18 May 2020
Date Written: July 13, 2018
Prior work often mischaracterizes who is burdened by strict voter identification (ID) laws, either by assuming that everyone who does not possess ID is burdened by the law or that those who do possess ID cannot be burdened. But many people without ID are unlikely to vote, and some people with ID may not have access to it on Election Day. Given this, we better measure who is burdened by studying Michigan's 2016 presidential election, where someone who lacked access to ID could nonetheless vote after signing an adavit. A random sample of adavits reveal that about 0.45 percent of voters lacked access to ID, nearly all of whom possessed state-issued identification. Non-white voters are about five times more likely to lack access to ID than white voters. While lacking access to ID did not legally prevent anyone from voting, survey evidence suggests that not all voters understand this.
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