As a handful of state legislatures around the country consider enacting stricter voter ID laws, a new study finds that young people – and especially young minorities – are disproportionately affected by those laws when they go into effect. According to the study, previewed before its release to POLITICO, significantly more minority youths age 18-29 were asked to show identification than white youth: 72.9 percent of black youth were asked for ID, compared with 60.8 percent of Latino youth and 50.8 percent of white youth. Even in states where there are no voter ID laws on the books, 65.5 percent of black youth were asked to show ID at the polls, compared with 55.3 percent of Latino youth and 42.8 percent of white youth. And for many young minority youths, even the concept of a required ID was a primary reason they didn’t go to the polls last year: 17.3 percent of black youth and 8.1 percent of Latino youth said their lack of adequate ID kept them from voting, compared with just 4.7 percent of white youth.
The study was co-authored by Cathy J. Cohen of the University of Chicago and Jon C. Rogowski of Washington University in St. Louis.
“The effort to protect the vote doesn’t make sense and it’s largely discriminatory, impacting we know, young people in particular, young people of color, the poor and the elderly,” Cohen said.
This year, ten states have either already considered new voter ID measures or are planning to take up the issue in an upcoming legislative session. States with new legislation on the table include Alaska, Arkansas, New York, North Carolina, Missouri, Montana, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin. All of the bills would require voters to present some kind of government-issued photo ID in order to vote.