New Study: Voter ID Kept Tens of Thousands From Polls in Key Swing State
Political Scientist Shows Voter ID Law May Have Kept 16k-23k From Voting In 2016 Battleground
After he lost the popular vote by roughly three million votes, Republican Donald Trump just couldn’t settle for just his Electoral College victory. So, he put together his Election Integrity Commission to try to cope with the massive popular vote deficit and his razor thin wins in swing state such as Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
That has been nothing short of a disaster. There have been accusations of improper records requests that have been turned away even by pro-Trump states. There have been questions about the use of private email by its members. And the fact checkers have already been shredding the arguments generated by the commission.
But, ignoring this sham, what are the real concerns when it comes to voting? Studies are proving one of the key answers continues to be voter ID laws. And a new study of voting in Wisconsin shows the laws are scaring away a stunning number of voters.
Political scientists Kenneth Mayer and Michael DeCrescenzo took a look at the two biggest counties in the state that contain Milwaukee and Madison and their findings were disturbing.
We estimate that 11.2% of nonvoting registrants in Dane and Milwaukee counties were “deterred” in some way from voting by the voter ID law, either because they lacked ID, believed they lacked ID, or were told at the polls that their ID did not qualify as valid.
This percent translated into people deterred is roughly 16,000 registered voters staying away due to the laws. The range of estimates given in the study is from a low of 11,000 people to as high as 23,000.
It should be noted the results of these two counties would not have necessarily completely erased the margin of victory for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the state. Trump won by just under 23,000 votes and Clinton won both Democratic strongholds with roughly two-thirds of the vote in each. But expanding the results further in the state and considering the heavy impact on likely Clinton voters, it certainly leaves the potential result up for debate.
These results mirror studies done on voter ID laws in other states. In many cases, voter ID laws have the effect of keeping people home who could legally vote but simply believe they are ineligible. In other words, just passing a law that people may not fully understand has the effect of suppressing voting.
The 2016 Election will never cease being controversial on a variety of levels. But the effects of voter ID laws will have an impact on elections for years to come. And study results such as these should move elected officials to action in bringing about a more robust democracy.
That is, if they can push their selfish interests aside and actually do the right thing. We have our doubts…
Featured image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.
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