After the Republican-led statehouse in Wisconsin changed its voter registration law mandating stricter identification, more than 200,000 mostly African Americans were not able to vote in the 2016 presidential election, according to a recently released study.
Priorities USA, a progressive voting rights organization, shared its results exclusively with The Nation, and shows that Wisconsin’s voter-ID law reduced turnout by 200,000 votes. Donald Trump won the state by only 22,748 votes.
Three states—Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania—gave Trump the electoral college advantage that won him the presidency.
The data in the study compared turnout in states that adopted strict voter-ID laws between 2012 and 2016, like Wisconsin, to states that did not. Tellingly, some of the states where there it was easier to vote (“non-strict”(Alabama, New Hampshire, Rhode Island), voter turnout was slightly up. Conversely, in states like Virginia, Mississippi and Wisconsin, voter turnout, especially for African Americans, was down, most significantly in Wisconsin.
The study also compared turnout in Wisconsin to Minnesota, which has very similar demographics but no voter-ID law, and found “turnout in African-American counties dropped off at significantly higher levels than in their Minnesota-counterparts.
The Nation found that such ID laws have a significant impact on our democracy, writing:
This study provides more evidence for the claim that voter-ID laws are designed not to stop voter impersonation fraud, which is virtually nonexistent, but to make it harder for certain communities to vote. This matters greatly today, because 87 bills to restrict access to the ballot have been introduced in 29 states this year, including voter-ID laws in 19 states. Arkansas and Iowa have already passed strict voter-ID laws in 2017.
SOURCE: The Nation