Study: Voter ID Laws Could Prevent Young Latinos, Blacks from Voting in November
A new study released by the Black Youth Project finds that young people of color have photo identification at lower rates than whites. Several states in the nation have strict voter ID laws. Without photo ID, young Black and Latino voters could be prevented from voting in November’s election.
Just as President Obama’s first term in office began, Republican-controlled state legislatures around the country attempted to enact new voting laws that increase restrictions on the kinds of identification that citizens must show before being allowed to vote.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, such proposals were considered by 34 states in 2011, and in 32 states in 2012. As of this writing, nine states now have laws in place that require citizens to show government-issued photo identification before casting a valid ballot.
In addition, eight other states have enacted similar measures that request photo identification before voting, but offer a limited set of alternatives to voters who are unable to provide identification. Importantly, all but two of these new laws have been passed since the 2008 presidential election. These laws have often been met with fierce opposition.
For a list of states that require Photo ID to vote view the interactive graphic at National Conference of State Legislatures
To obtain a legitimate-state issued photo ID, visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office. Proper documentation, such as a birth certificate, passport AND/OR social security card will be required.
Consequences of new photo ID laws from BYP:
First, voter turnout among young people of color may be significantly reduced because of these laws. It is estimated that significant proportions of youth of color do not currently possess government-issued photo identification. According to the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, as many as 16 percent of Latinos and 25 percent of African Americans may not have government-issued photo IDs.
Because these estimates were obtained from a national sample of adults they probably underestimate the impact of photo identification laws on young people of color since younger people tend to hold photo IDs at lower rates compared to older people.
Second, because people of color hold photo identifications at disproportionately lower rates than whites, the demobilizing effects of these new laws will be greater among young people of color than for young whites. Overall, our estimates indicate that between 538,000 and 696,000 young people of color may be demobilized by these new laws in the states that have passed them. Thus, new photo identification laws may dilute the influence of young voters of color at the ballot box, possibly shifting election outcomes in competitive races.
Read the entire Black Youth Project study here.