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

See all articles by Phoebe Henninger

Phoebe Henninger

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Marc Meredith

University of Pennsylvania

Michael Morse

Harvard University - Department of Government

Date Written: July 13, 2018

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Henninger, Phoebe and Meredith, Marc and Morse, Michael, Who Votes Without Identification? Using Affidavits from Michigan to Learn About the Potential Impact of Strict Photo Voter Identification Laws (July 13, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3205769 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3205769

Phoebe Henninger

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

500 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

Marc Meredith (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Michael Morse

Harvard University - Department of Government ( email )

MA
United States

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