STUDY: Voter ID Laws Affect Young Minorities Most

A new study by professors at the University of Chicago and Washington University in St. Louis shows that the strict voter ID laws being pushed by Republican state legislators around the country most impact young people, especially young minorities. And given that the people pushing those measures admitted they were intended to help GOP candidates win, the analysis would suggest that the efforts are having their intended effect.

Politico reported Tuesday that the study, co-authored by Cathy J. Cohen of the University of Chicago and Jon C. Rogowski of Washington University in St. Louis, found that even in states without photo ID laws, “65.5 percent of black youth were asked to show ID at the polls, compared with 55.3 percent of Latino youth and 42.8 percent of white youth.”

Worse, the study finds, many minority young voters — including 17.3 percent of young African Americans — did not even try to vote because they lacked the required identification.The authors noted that their findings show the problem with these suppression laws — and show the continued need for the Voting Rights Act:

“The effort to protect the vote doesn’t make sense and it’s largely discriminatory, impacting we know, young people in particular, young people of color, the poor and the elderly,” Cohen said. … Rogowski said the study will help underscore the importance of keeping Section 5 fully in place. “It’s important that we still have the ability to keep a watchful eye on these kinds of states,” Rogowski said.


Last June, Pennsylvania House Republican Leader Mike Turzai boasted that the voter ID law he helped pass would “allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.” In December, Republican strategist Scott Tranter acknowledged that “a lot of us are campaign professionals and we want to do everything we can to help our sides. Sometimes we think that’s voter ID, sometimes we think that’s longer lines, whatever it may be.”