Who Votes Without Identification? Using Individual-Level Administrative Data to Measure the Burden of Strict Voter Identification Laws
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Forthcoming
31 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2018 Last revised: 30 Jun 2021
Date Written: June 1, 2021
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 affidavits 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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