Talk: 'Who Does Voter ID Legislation Keep from Voting?'

Event Details

April 13, 2018
12:30 pm-2:00 pm

Thompson Hall

Room: 420

UMass Amherst Campus

Handicap access available
Laura Johnson

Please join us on Friday for a research talk by Michael Miller (Barnard College) titled "Who Does Voter ID Legislation Keep from Voting?" The talk will be from 12:30 - 2pm in Thompson 420 and lunch will be provided. 

Strict voter identification laws have expanded over the last 10 years, sparking concerns of "vote suppression" as racial/ethnic minority citizens are less likely to have qualifying forms of identification. However, evidence of suppression has generally taken the form of aggregate analyses of state-level voter turnout or self-reported survey responses. Here we leverage unique data from 2016 elections in Texas, where a last-minute federal court order permitted registered voters arriving at the polls without qualifying identification to vote after completing a "Reasonable Impediment Declaration" (RID). Linking each of the over 16,000 individual RID forms to the Texas voter file, and merging in relevant voter turnout and demographic information, we provide the first direct documentation of who arrives at their polling place and would be barred from voting under strict voter identification laws. Our pre-registered design allows us to ascertain whether, as previous work suggests, the population that seeks to vote without identification is less non-Hispanic White than the broader electorate. We also leverage the fact that strict voter identification was implemented in Texas in 2014 (with no RIDs) to ascertain whether 2016 RID-filers displayed lower turnout propensity in that year. Finally, we look for differences in the RID-filing population itself in an effort to determine whether non-white voters were more likely to report economic or other hardships as a reason for lacking ID.


Thompson Hall is located at 620 Hicks Way on the UMass Amherst campus.