News21: New laws leave voters to navigate maze of requirements

The Center for Public Integrity,  August 21, 2016

Since the last presidential election in 2012, politicians in 20 states including Texas passed 37 different new voting requirements that they said were needed to prevent voter fraud, a News21 analysis found. More than a third of those changes require voters to show specified government-issued photo IDs at the polls or reduce the number of acceptable IDs required by pre-existing laws. ...

Republican state leaders and conservative advocates of voter ID and other new requirements have insisted that they are necessary to prevent voter fraud and protect the integrity of elections. But a 2012 News21 50-state analysis of cases since 2000 found that the rate of voter fraud is infinitesimal compared with the total number of voters nationwide and that in-person voter impersonation on election day – the type of fraud voter that photo ID is designed to prevent – is virtually nonexistent. A 2016 update, in which News21 revisited five sample states that enacted new voting requirements to reduce fraud, again found few convictions for voter fraud and none for voter impersonation. ...

A 2014 study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that laws requiring specific kinds of voter ID in Kansas and Tennessee depressed voter turnout in those states in 2012, with African-Americans and young voters disproportionately affected. Ten state-specific and nationwide studies within the GAO report found that African-Americans and Latinos were always less likely to have the required voter ID than whites, and Native Americans and Asian-Americans were frequently at a similar disadvantage.

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