News and Commentary

5 Statistics That Show Voter ID Is Not Racist

The Washington Post‘s Christopher Ingraham did a victory dance on Friday after a federal court struck down North Carolina’s voter identification laws, claiming the court had found the “smoking gun” that such laws were racist — despite the fact that data says otherwise.

Ingraham writes:

In particular, the court found that North Carolina lawmakers requested data on racial differences in voting behaviors in the state. “This data showed that African Americans disproportionately lacked the most common kind of photo ID, those issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV),” the judges wrote.

So the legislators made it so that the only acceptable forms of voter identification were the ones disproportionately used by white people. “With race data in hand, the legislature amended the bill to exclude many of the alternative photo IDs used by African Americans,” the judges wrote. “The bill retained only the kinds of IDs that white North Carolinians were more likely to possess.”

The IDs that are allowed at voting places are “an in-state state driver’s license, a U.S. passport or military ID,” according to Newsbusters. Are Ingraham and the court suggesting that blacks are somehow incapable of obtaining these forms of identification, especially when residents can obtain a free ID from the Department of Motor Vehicles? If so, that assumption actually is racist.

Ingraham continues:

The data also showed that black voters were more likely to make use of early voting — particularly the first seven days out of North Carolina’s 17-day voting period. So lawmakers eliminated these seven days of voting. “After receipt of this racial data, the General Assembly amended the bill to eliminate the first week of early voting, shortening the total early voting period from seventeen to ten days,” the court found.

Most strikingly, the judges point to a “smoking gun” in North Carolina’s justification for the law, proving discriminatory intent. The state argued in court that “counties with Sunday voting in 2014 were disproportionately black” and “disproportionately Democratic,” and said it did away with Sunday voting as a result.

Or maybe North Carolina’s lawmakers realized that, as Conservative Review‘s Daniel Horowitz has written, “early voting is dumb and unconstitutional.” Is Ingraham and the court implying that blacks somehow can’t vote on election day?

Ingraham and the Court are ignoring data that suggests that voter ID laws are not racist. Here are five statistics proving this.

1. Black turnout was higher than white turnout in 2012 — including in states that had implemented voter ID laws. This is according to U.S. Census Bureau data, and even the leftist PolitiFact had to admit this is true. IJ Review has more on this here.

2. A recent study of the the 2010 and 2012 primaries and general elections shows that voter ID laws did not disproportionately decrease minority turnout. The study, conducted by University of California San Diego political scientist Lindsay Nielson in data from the Cooperative Congressional Election Survey, found the following: (emphasis bolded)

In primaries, she reports, whites and minorities vote at approximately similar rates; turnout declines for people of all races from 43 to 31 percent, as ID requirements become stricter. Turnout among voters over age 65 declines from 57 to 48 percent in primary elections; among those ages 35 to 64, it drops from 42 to 34 percent; the young vote decreases from 30 to 22 percent. Income makes no difference; turnout declines about 10 percent both for people who make more than $40,000 per year and those who make less. She found similar results when the income cutoff was set at $20,000 per year.

That may only be in primaries, but her conclusions suggest that while voter turnout did decline, it was among all races equally, not disproportionately among minorities, as leftists would like you to believe.

In general elections, Nielson concluded that “there is little evidence that racial minorities are less likely than whites to vote when states institute voter identification requirements” and “that the evidence that voter identification laws demobilize potential voters is not as strong as opponents of the laws might wish and that the controversy over these laws may be exaggerated.”

Nielson’s study is further evidence that voter ID laws do not disproportionately suppress minority voter turnout.

3. Despite what leftists argue, voter fraud does exist. In 2012, the Pew Research Center found the following:

  • There were almost “24 million active voter registrations in the U.S. either invalid or inaccurate.”
  • Almost two million dead Americans were still on the active voting lists.
  • 12 million voter records were riddled with “incorrect addresses or other errors.”
  • Almost 2.75 million voters were registered in over one state.

It goes without saying that the aforementioned numbers open the door for voter fraud. There are several documented instances of voter fraud, as Hans von Spakovsky has chronicled here and here.

According to von Spakovsky, there were ballots with “the names of 5,412 registered voters after people with matching names had died” in the 2000 election in Fulton County, GA. He has also cited the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, which concluded “that 6.4% of all noncitizens voted illegally in the 2008 presidential election, and 2.2% voted in the 2010 midterms.”

Leftists will probably scream that this is an insignificant amount, which ignores the following fact…

4. In a close election, voter fraud could play a significant role. Von Spakovsky writes the following in regard to the aforementioned data:

Since 80% of noncitizens vote Democratic, according to the survey, the authors concluded that these illegal votes were “large enough to plausibly account for Democratic victories in a few close elections.” Those that might have been skewed by noncitizen votes included Al Franken’s 312-vote win in the Minnesota race for the U.S. Senate. As a senator, Mr. Franken would cast the 60th vote needed to make ObamaCare law.

Indeed, there is evidence that Franken did in fact win his election due to voter fraud, as demonstrated here and here. Von Spakovsky also notes, “In 2014, 16 local races in Ohio were decided by one vote or through breaking a tie. In 2013, 35 local races in Ohio were that close.”

Ohio is a key swing state in presidential elections, so those close local races may indicate that voter fraud could influence the state outcome in the upcoming general election.

It’s not racist to protect the right to vote with voter ID to prevent a law-abiding citizen’s vote from being canceled out by a fraudulent vote.

5. Polls show that the vast majority of Americans support voter ID laws, including Democrats and blacks. Poll after poll confirms this. For example:

  • A 2012 Washington Post poll found that 65 percent of blacks support voter ID laws.
  • A 2014 Fox News poll found that 55 percent of Democrats and 51 percent of blacks support voter ID laws.
  • A 2015 Rasmussen poll found that 58 percent of Democrats support voter ID laws.
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