3 Harv. L. & Pol'y Rev. 185 (2009)
ID at the Polls: Assessing the Impact of Recent State Voter ID Laws on Voter Turnout

handle is hein.journals/harlpolrv3 and id is 187 raw text is: ID at the Polls: Assessing the Impact of Recent
State Voter ID Laws on Voter Turnout
Shelley de Alth*
But on the basis of the evidence in the record it is not possible to
quantify either the magnitude of the burden on this narrow class of
voters or the portion of the burden imposed on them that is fully
- Justice John Paul Stevens'
Indiana's Voter ID Law threatens to impose nontrivial burdens
on the voting right of tens of thousands of the State's citizens, and
a significant percentage of those individuals are likely to be de-
terred from voting.
- Justice David Souter2
Last spring, in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, the Su-
preme Court upheld Indiana's law requiring voters to show picture identifi-
cation in order to vote, but the Court divided four ways over the issue.
Central to the Justices' debate and the applicable constitutional balancing test
was the degree of the burden that the law imposes on voters. This Essay
surveys the voter ID controversy and describes original empirical research
finding ID laws to have a negative impact on voter turnout. Since the Court
left open the possibility of as-applied challenges to voter ID laws, future
litigants who can produce research such as this will have a much stronger
case to have these laws declared unconstitutional.
Voter ID laws gained increasing popularity in the aftermath of the hotly
contested 2000 election. Between 2002 and 2006, twelve states strength-
ened their voting laws to require voters to present some form of identifying
documentation or photo ID.3 However, these new laws created a highly par-
tisan controversy, with Republicans supporting voter ID laws and Democrats
opposing them.4 Proponents argue that ID laws are necessary to prevent
* J.D., Harvard Law School, 2008.
Crawford v. Marion County Election Bd., 128 S. Ct. 1610, 1622 (2008) (lead op.).
2 Id. at 1627 (Souter, J., dissenting) (citations omitted).
The states that had strengthened ID laws in place for the 2006 election were Alabama,
Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and
Washington. Georgia and Missouri strengthened their laws, but legal challenges prevented the
laws from taking effect in 2006. See infra Part IV for data sources.
4 Stephen Ansolabehere, Access versus Integrity in Voter Identification Requirements 2
(CalTech/MIT Voting Tech. Project Working Paper, No. 58, Feb. 2007), available at http://
web.mit.edu/polisci/portl/cces/material/NYUIdentification 1.pdf.

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