Voter ID Laws Do Affect Minority Voting… By Increasing It

According to Judicial Watch, we now have evidence about voter turnout in response to laws requiring proof of identity in order to vote.

Judicial Watch announced today that on June 18, 2014, it joined with the Allied Educational Foundation (AEF) and Christina Kelley Gallegos-Merrill in filing an amici curiae brief with the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina arguing that, contrary to dire predictions by the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ), minority voter turnout has actually increased since the passage of North Carolina’s election integrity bill, HB 589 (United States of America v. State of North Carolina et. al(No.1:13-cv-00861)).


…black turnout increased in 2014 by every meaningful measure. Black share of the total electorate increased. The percentage of black registered voters voting increased. Using Census Bureau estimates, Dr. Camarota [the Director of Research for the Center for Immigration Studies] found an increase in turnout among blacks of voting age. Finally, while turnout increased across the board in May 2014, and while white turnout increased by 13.7%, black turnout increased much faster – by an astonishing 29.5%.

Someone might argue that my headline overstates the case. Many will believe it is ridiculous to believe that better voter ID laws had the effect of increasing voter turnout. That’s a good, logical objection. But we know that if minority voter turnout had decreased at all, then the media would have been shouting about how it was caused by the new law.

So, in that context, when the fallacy is already in play, I’m going to use it too.

In any case, Judicial Watch isn’t arguing that voter ID laws increase voter turnout. They are arguing that there is no reason to expect them to decrease voter turnout. There is no reason to believe that they put an undue burden on any voters. Eric Holder’s Justice Department is trying to get a court injunction to suspend the law while they fight in court to get it thrown out.

But stricter voter I.D. laws could increase turnout. Once people know that other voters are less likely to vote more than once, the value of their own vote goes up. Those running political campaigns, who are now forced to be honest, will have to put more emphasis on increasing voter turnout in order to win elections. Potential voters will also put more value on their votes because they will know that their vote is not being drowned beneath a torrent of fake votes.

I have no idea if any of this contributed to the increased voter turnout, but it is perfectly possible.