“Why the Sky Didn’t Fall: Mobilizing Anger in Reaction to Voter ID Laws”

Nicholas Valentino and Fabian Neuner have written this article for Political Psychology. Here is the abstract:

Since 2002, 26 U.S. states have passed laws that enhance restrictions on voters who intend to register and vote. Most have been sponsored by Republican legislators and passed by states with large Republican majorities. Proponents of such identification requirements argue that they are necessary to ensure the integrity of the electoral system by reducing voter fraud. Many Democrats have cried foul, arguing these laws are motivated by crass partisanship at best, and racial bias at worst, because they disproportionately disenfranchise minorities. Surprisingly, empirical evidence for significant demobilization, either in the aggregate or among Democrats specifically, has thus far failed to materialize. We suspect strong emotional reactions to the public debate about these laws may mobilize Democrats, counterbalancing the disenfranchising effect. We find support for this conjecture in a nationally representative survey and an experiment where news frames about voter identification (ID) laws are carefully manipulated.

I discussed the possibility of this backlash effect in The Voting Wars, and it is good to see this is being tested with empirical evidence.
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