Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2016

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Professor John D. Griffin

Abstract

Voter identification (voter ID) requirements have become a salient political issue recently as more states have moved to implement increasingly strict voter ID requirements. I conjecture that, especially due to the politicized debate surrounding voter ID, conservatives rationally propose the laws to produce a negative effect on poor and minority turnout. I empirically evaluate these claims surrounding voter ID laws. Specifically, I examine the impact of voter ID laws on overall turnout and on racial and socioeconomic gaps in turnout. I find no results when examining the effect of voter ID on levels of turnout in states or their racial gaps in turnout. I then look at individual level data, and similarly find no effect for voter ID laws on any important variable. Voter ID effects, I argue, have been overstated. Estimates proposed by other authors sit far outside the confidence intervals of my models.

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