POLIZETTE — Recent court rulings have given upper hand to proponents of ID laws on once-bipartisan issue
Texas last month became the latest state to win a legal battle against its voter identification law, closely following a win by North Carolina.
With two more states moving to pass laws requiring voters to prove their identity with a photo ID, liberal interest groups that have been trying to block ballot-security measures are on their heels. Both sides see partisan advantage in the debate, with Republicans believing photo ID laws benefit them by reducing fraud and many Democrats convinced the laws hurt them by disenfranchising poor and minority voters who tend to vote Democrat.
But the overwhelming evidence is that both sides are wrong, or at least largely exaggerate the impact.
“The numbers are fairly low,” said Donald Palmer, a former secretary of the Virginia State Board of Elections and a fellow at the centrist Bipartisan Policy Center.
Dan Takaji, an elections law expert at Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law, said the turnout impact of photo ID laws could be 3 percent to 5 percent. Other experts who have studied the issue conclude voter ID laws have virtually no impact on voter turnout.
Palmer has detailed how activist groups, media reports, and even some judges have grossly exaggerated the number of registered voters without valid identification.