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Hey, guess what? If you pass a photo ID law, you reduce voter turnout. The nonpartisan GAO studied the effect of photo ID laws and, after applying all the usual demographic controls, came up with this chart for Kansas and Tennessee compared to similar states without photo ID laws:
Voter turnout was reduced by 2-3 percentage points in both states. But of course there’s more to the story. Some groups were more strongly affected than others. Here are the results for Kansas:
Age. In Kansas, the turnout effect among registrants who were 18 years old in 2008 was 7.1 percentage points larger in size than the turnout effect among registrants between the ages of 44 and 53.
….Race or ethnicity. We estimate that turnout was reduced among African-American registrants by 3.7 percentage points more than among Whites in Kansas.
….Length of registration. In Kansas, the reduction in turnout for people registered to vote within 1 year prior to Election Day 2008 was 5.2 percentage points larger in size than for people registered to vote for 20 years or longer prior to Election Day 2008.
Victory! Turnout plummeted among blacks, young people, and college students. What more could an enterprising Republican legislature want?
Oh, and, um, maybe voter fraud was reduced. The Kansas Secretary of State responded to a draft of the GAO report by explaining that “if lower overall turnout occurs after implementation of a photo ID law, some of the decrease may be attributable to the prevention of fraudulent votes.” You betcha.