For full political analysis go to https://research.blackyouthproject.com/
“New photo identification laws are likely to significantly reduce voter turnout, and their demobilizing effects will be greatest among Blacks. As a consequence, not only may electoral outcomes hang in the balance, but election results in these states may also reflect the views of a more limited segment of the population.“ Jon Rogowski, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Political Science at University of Chicago
“The data provided in this memo suggests that new laws requiring photo identification to vote will have a disproportionate impact on black voters. This type of racialized attack on the voting rights of American citizens must be challenged.” Cathy J. Cohen, David and Mary Winton Green Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago and Founder and Director of the Black Youth Project
WHAT: The Racial Impact of Voter Identification Laws in the 2012 Election””a new political analysis was released today that examines
the impact of recent legislation in five states””Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin. These states that will require
voters to display government-issued photo identification before voting in the 2012 election.
The analyses suggest two possible consequences of new photo-identification laws:
1. Voter turnout among African Americans may be significantly reduced.
As many as 25% of African Americans may not currently possess government-issued photo identification,
which is likely to reduce the overall number of black voters in states that require a government ID to vote.
2. Because blacks hold photo identification at disproportionately lower rates than whites,
new photo-ID laws may dilute the influence of black votes and could shift election outcomes in competitive races.
The analytic essay by Jon Rogowski is the first in a series of memos and fact sheets released by the Black Youth Project of the University of Chicago
under the title Black Youth and the Future of American Politics. The series will provide analysis that explores what role youth, in particular black youth,
will play in the 2012 election and what barriers exist that could dampen their participation.
WHY: Black turnout was almost universally higher in 2008 compared with 2004, while white turnout
was generally higher in 2004 than in 2008. In 2008 Black youth voted at the highest rate of any racial or ethnic group
of young people ever recorded. Black turnout in 2008 was substantially higher than white turnout in three of the five states
that have passed voter ID laws””South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas””each of which has a sizable black population.
The analysis shows that across these six states, the impact of these new voter ID laws will be felt at the national, state, and local levels.
WHERE: National Impact:
The analysis indicates that between 250,000 and 675,000 black citizens in these states could be demobilized as a result of the new requirements.
These laws could significantly alter the dynamics of the 2012 presidential election. It appears unlikely that President Obama will win every state he won in 2008,
which means that his reelection could come down to support from a few crucial states.
Wisconsin: Reductions in black voter turnout may threaten Obama’s reelection chances in state.
Tennessee: Democrat Steve Cohen won election in the ninth congressional district by 66,000 votes in the 2010 election,
yet blacks constitute about 60 percent of this Memphis district’s population. Disproportionate reductions in black turnout threaten
to make this a considerably more competitive race than it previously has been.
North Carolina: Though photo-ID laws have not yet been instituted in North Carolina, the electoral impact is likely to be especially pernicious if they are passed.
President Obama carried the state by just 14,000 votes in 2008, while Democratic governor Beverly Purdue won by fewer than 145,000 votes.
Given the state’s sizable black population, both outcomes may be reversed in 2012 if photo-ID laws are implemented.