On Voter ID Laws

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Note: This article is a topic explanation only. It will offer no analysis.

12 mostly-red states have laws requiring voters to provide a form of ID (such as a driver’s license or passport) in order to vote.

Civil Rights groups vehemently oppose the laws, which they say are designed to suppress minority voters who are likely to be Democrats. There is truth to this claim; according to NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice, “About 25 percent of eligible black voters and 16 percent of Hispanic voters don’t have photo ID, compared with 9 percent of whites.” Many have compared voter ID laws to Jim Crow-era poll taxes designed to prevent those who would vote against the incumbent from voting at all.

Republicans who endorse voter ID laws claim that they are necessary in order to combat election fraud. However, according to a comprehensive study conducted by Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt, election fraud isn’t all that common; only thirty-one incidents of voter fraud were found in a one-billion vote sample.

There is no reason for voter ID laws to be in place; rather than serve their function of reducing fraud, they only perpetuate mistrust of Republicans in a political landscape that’s turning bluer by the second.

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