Politics

Thousands of Wisconsin Voters Blocked by Voter ID Laws in 2016 Election

A recent study shows that as many as 23,000 eligible voters in Wisconsin were discouraged from casting a ballot in the 2016 presidential election due to the state’s voter ID laws.

The study surveyed registered nonvoting Wisconsinites to determine the reason why they did not vote. According to the report, between 17,000 and 23,000 registered voters were discouraged from voting because of the state’s ID laws and between 9,000 and 14,000, or 6% of people, did not vote because they did not think they had acceptable ID.

The study also found that 27.5% of African Americans were discouraged compared to only 8.3% of white registered voters. Similarly, 21.1% of low income registered voters were deterred by voter ID laws, compared to only 2.7% of high income registered voters.

The findings of the study have made it clear that the voter ID law in Wisconsin does very little to prevent voter fraud. Instead, the law successfully deters or even fully blocks registered voters from casting a ballot due to the confusion about what type of identification the voter would need to provide at their voting location.

Voter ID laws have a history of blocking racial minorities and low-income people from voting. Earlier this summer, a revised Texas voter ID law was struck down by a U.S. District judge on the basis that the law was discriminatory against African American and Latino voters. The law, SB 5, was a revised version of SB 14, which was struck down in 2014 due to the “impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans, and was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose [in violation of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments.]” Texas has some of the strictest voter ID laws in the country.

Media: The New York Times 9/25/17; Huffington Post 9/26/17; Feminist Newswire 8/24/17;

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