Report: Voter ID Isn’t Suppression

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According to a recent report released by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Voter ID laws do not disenfranchise voters. The NBER is a nonpartisan non-profit based out of Massachusetts with a New York outpost.

According to Working Paper 25522, which reviewed elections from 2008 to 2016, the paper’s authors found voter ID laws have “no negative effect on registration or turnout, overall or for any group defined by race, gender, age, or party affiliation.”

Additionally, the researchers found that voter ID laws “do not decrease the participation of ethnic minorities relative to whites.”

This report confirms what has been a running observation in the face of historic voter turnout, voter ID requirements are not suppression despite the exact opposite being claimed by prevailing voices on the left.

Cries of suppression are once again being raised as current Secretary of State David Whitley works to identify and remove potential non-citizens from Texas voter rolls. This isn’t the first time an effort of this nature has been tried.

In 2012 the Secretary of State’s office engaged in a large scale list maintenance activity, a death master file effort that revealed over 50,000 potential dead registered voters on Texas. That effort was also decried as suppression.

The death master file removal process was pursued in 2012 followed after a 2011 law was passed requiring the SoS use the Social Security Administration’s death master file to cull voter rolls of potentially deceased voters.

Before working to clear Texas voter rolls of potentially dead voters, then Secretary Hope Andrade tried to do what is taking place now, identifying and removing potential non-citizens from the voter rolls. That effort was labeled suppression.

There are other similarities.

Taking a look back at 2012, the fight over what was mandated and wasn’t played out over the death master file clean up. Harris County refused to remove voters that may have been deceased, raising complaints about timing and issues working with data from the SoS that included some living residents appearing in provided list.

The SoS at that time insisted that the state and counties are required to “maintain an accurate and secure voter registration list.” Still, then Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Don Sumners refused to remove voters.

This is the same set up we have today. The Secretary of State in an email to county election administrators, as mentioned last week during a House Elections Committee hearing, stated that counties are not required by statute to perform list maintenance as outlined in the mid-January advisory to counties.

What’s markedly different from the 2012 list work compared to today is that effort was initiated 2 months ahead of the general election. In 2019, list work is being conducted over a year from the next landmark election.

This morning in a San Antonio federal court plaintiffs sought an injunction to stop the latest attempt to keep Texas voter rolls clear of ineligible voters.

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