Culture

More states consider voter ID laws amid conflicting research on their impact


Matt Vasilogambros | (TNS) Stateline.org

Nevada voters may decide in November whether they should join three dozen other states in requiring voters to present valid identification before casting a ballot. And Maine may not be far behind, as the push for voter ID requirements grows nationwide despite conflicting studies over their effects.

Conservative organizers in Nevada say they have gathered enough signatures to qualify their measure for the general election ballot. It would amend the state constitution to require voters to present an ID at polling places or to include some form of identification — such as the last four digits of a driver’s license or Social Security number — on mail-in ballots.

“We’ve seen over the last 20 years there have been questions about the people who voted and whether there have been fake ballots,” said David Gibbs, chair of Repair the Vote PAC, a North Las Vegas-based group that is leading the ballot initiative effort. “This is one way to tighten that up. A lot of people look at it and it makes sense.”

If the measure makes the ballot and voters approve it in November, they will have to vote on it again in 2026, as required to amend the state’s constitution.

It has a good chance of passing. According to a June poll by Fox News, 84% of registered Nevada voters support implementing voter ID. Those findings closely mirror national poll numbers from the Pew Research Center, which in February found that 81% of U.S. adults favored requiring people to show a government-issued photo ID to vote.

Voting rights advocates cite research showing that such rules block many legitimate voters — especially young, Black and Latino voters — from the polls. But backers of voter ID laws point to other studies which suggest that the rules have had a minimal effect on voter turnout, partly because Democrats often respond to them by amping up their voter mobilization efforts.

For more than a decade, Republican lawmakers have pushed to implement stricter voter ID laws. Thirty-six states require some form of identification to cast a ballot, though laws vary by state over the accepted types of identification and requirements to vote by mail, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

That list may grow.

In May, the Republican-led New Hampshire legislature passed a measure that would require residents to prove their citizenship status to register to vote. Republican Gov. Chris Sununu has yet to sign it into law.

In Maine, conservative activists are still gathering signatures to put their voter ID measure on the November 2025 ballot. Maine does not require a photo ID at polling places, and Democratic lawmakers are trying to keep it that way, arguing it could prevent residents who are less likely to have a driver’s license from being able to vote.

Voting rights advocates say voter ID laws can lead to confusion at polling places, and that states that implement them should do more to ensure equitable access to official IDs.

“The more complicated we make voting, the more hurdles we put in front of people, the more pitfalls there …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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