Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Does Voter Suppression Work?

A bit under the radar, studies have been accumulating that tend not to show much effect from voter ID laws on registration or turnout. If true, this is good news, since it means that Republicans are wasting their time and energy on something that basically doesn't work as they intend it to work. And gloomy Democrats, who are perpetually worried that the GOP simply won't let the Democrats win, can cheer up a bit.
The latest study is a massive one by two economists on a 1.3 billion (!) case dataset from Catalist Analytics, which is a very good--and Democratic leaning--big data firm. They find essentially no effect on reducing turnout, either in general or among specific demographic groups. I've looked at the study and it seems sound. And as I note above, it's not exactly an outlier in the current literature.
I still wonder about some specific cases like the precipitous drop in black turnout in Wisconsin in 2016. Still, it is starting to look like this egregious tactic on the part of the GOP just doesn't work that well.
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