Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2016

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Political Science

First Advisor

Professor John D. Griffin


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.