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 SandersBernie SandersBriahna Joy Gray: Push toward major social spending amid pandemic was 'short-lived' Sanders 'disappointed' in House panel's vote on drug prices Manchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants MORE (I-Vt.), Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahySenators denounce protest staged outside home of Justice Kavanaugh Al Franken on another Senate run: 'I'm keeping my options open' Labor Day: No justice for whistleblowers MORE (D-Vt.), Dick DurbinDick DurbinManchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants Democrats hope Biden can flip Manchin and Sinema US gymnasts offer scathing assessment of FBI MORE (D-Ill.), Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week CEOs urge Congress to raise debt limit or risk 'avoidable crisis' If .5 trillion 'infrastructure' bill fails, it's bye-bye for an increasingly unpopular Biden MORE (D-N.Y.) and Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonHow will Biden's Afghanistan debacle impact NASA's Artemis return to the moon? Biden to talk Russia, anti-corruption with Ukraine's president Blue Origin's Jeff Bezos wages lawfare on NASA and SpaceX 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.
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 CornynDemocrats make case to Senate parliamentarian for 8 million green cards Democrats to make pitch Friday for pathway to citizenship in spending bill Without major changes, more Americans could be victims of online crime 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.