73 Percent Of Whites Support Voter ID Laws When Shown Photos of Blacks Voting

If you still don't believe race plays a role in voter ID laws, look no further than a new University of Delaware study.


The study reports that 67 percent of whites nationwide support voter ID laws, but that number increased to 73 percent when a photo of black people at the voting booth accompanied the voter ID question.

"Our findings suggest that opinions about voter ID laws can be racialized by simply showing images of African American people," David C. Wilson, one of the researchers of the study, said. "The resulting increase in support for the laws happens independently of—even after controlling for—political ideology and negative attitudes about African Americans."

African American and Hispanic respondents' attitudes about voter ID laws didn't change regardless of the photo accompanying the voter ID question. Researchers did say that the survey sample included fewer respondents from those groups. But in a study published last year in the Public Opinion Quarterly, results revealed that Americans with negatives attitudes toward blacks tended to support voter ID laws most. Another study reveals that states that enacted tougher voter ID laws saw increases in minority and low-income voter turnout.

Republicans have long argued that voter ID laws can prevent election fraud, despite a wealth of research showing how rare voter fraud is. As Christopher Ingraham wrote in the Washington Post, the laws don't stop fraud such as "vote buying, coercion, fake registrations, voting from the wrong address or ballot box stuffing." Voter ID laws can stop identification fraud, but it's pretty rare.

Simply put: voter ID laws are nothing more than witch hunts that end up keeping minorities and the poor from the voting booth. Or, as Reagan-appointed Judge Richard Posner wrote in his dissent against voter ID laws in Wisconsin, "As there is no evidence that voter-impersonation fraud is a problem, how can the fact that a legislature says it's a problem turn it into one? If the Wisconsin legislature says witches are a problem, shall Wisconsin courts be permitted to conduct witch trials?

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