Voter ID laws helped contribute to lower voter turnout in Kansas and Tennessee in 2012, according a new study by the Government Accountability Office.

Congress’s research arm blamed the two states’ laws requiring that voters show identification on a dip in turnout in 2012 — about 2 percentage points in Kansas and between 2.2 and 3.2 percentage points in Tennessee. Those declines were greater among younger and African-American voters, when compared to turnout in other states.

Sens. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersOvernight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Senate passes 0B defense bill Dems fear lasting damage from Clinton-Sanders fight MORE (I-Vt.), Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyOvernight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Senate passes 0B defense bill Live coverage: Sanders rolls out single-payer bill MORE (D-Vt.), Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Senate passes 0B defense bill MORE (D-Ill.), Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill This week: Senate wrapping up defense bill after amendment fight Cuomo warns Dems against cutting DACA deal with Trump MORE (D-N.Y.) and Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonDem asks airlines to cap airfares ahead of Hurricane Maria Trump encourages Rick Scott to run for Senate Overnight Regulation: House moves to block methane rule | Senators wrestle with allowing driverless trucks | EPA delays toxic waste rule MORE (D-Fla.) requested the report in light of last year’s decision by the Supreme Court striking down part of the Voting Rights Act. The decision freed a number of states from a pre-clearance requirement to run all changes to voting laws by the Department of Justice.

ADVERTISEMENT
Leahy, Durbin and Schumer are co-sponsors of a bill that would update that pre-clearance to abide by the Supreme Court’s ruling.

“This new analysis from GAO reaffirms what many in Congress already know: Threats to the right to vote still exist,” Leahy said in a statement. “That is why Congress must act to restore the fundamental protections of the Voting Rights Act that have been gutted by the Supreme Court.”

Many Republican-led states have passed voter ID laws they say will help prevent voter fraud. While the GAO report found “few instances of in-person voter fraud,” it could not definitively say how much fraud exists.

Leahy further accused Republicans of “efforts to limit access to the ballot box” and “playing politics with the right to vote” by pushing voter ID laws.

During a hearing on the Democrats’ fix to the Voting Rights Act in June, conservative witnesses and lawmakers questioned the proposal, defending the remaining part of the Voting Rights Act as sufficient to prosecute voting rights violations.

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynNew GOP ObamaCare repeal bill gains momentum Week ahead: Senators near deal to stabilize ObamaCare markets GOP eying 'blue slip' break to help Trump fill the courts MORE (R-Texas) said during the hearing that requiring identification before voting is as important as requiring it before entering a government building like the Justice Department.