For many years, Democrats and Republicans have fought over the issue of voter ID laws. Democrats argue that such measures decrease the voter turnout of Democratic minority voters, and Republicans call them common-sense measures that protect the integrity of the elections. But a recent poll by Monmouth shows that 80% of Americans side with the GOP on this issue, as they support voter ID laws.
The issue of voting laws has captured the national spotlight over the last few months, with former President Trump claiming that the 2020 election was stolen from him and Democrats arguing that Republicans are imposing draconian voting laws in the south. President Biden went as far as calling these laws “Jim Crow 2.0”. Voting ID has become a central part of this national discussion.
Support for voter ID laws goes beyond party, race, and educational lines
According to the survey, which was conducted between June 9th and June 14th and interviewed 810 adults, found out that 80% of those surveyed support asking for photo ID to vote, and this agreement goes beyond party ID, gender, or race. With 91% of registered Republicans are in favor of Voter ID laws, just like 87% of Independents, and even 62% of registered Democrats. Ethnic minorities also overwhelmingly agree on this issue.
Not only do Americans view voter ID laws favorably despite their different party registrations, but that overwhelmingly agreement also translates to other factors that tend to divide the American electorate. Let’s take educational level as an example, almost 85% of those who do not possess a college degree support voter ID laws, while 69% of those with a 4-year degree also think the same.
This support towards voter ID can also be observed within ethnic minorities, in fact, support towards asking for photo ID to vote is higher within minorities than in the white population that was surveyed. While a healthy 77% of Whites agree with this policy, a whopping 84% of non-whites (Blacks, Hispanics, Asian-Americans, etc.) think the same.
This last data point is particularly interesting, as one of the talking points used against the implementation of Voter ID laws was that they were aimed to suppress the turnout of minority voters, as explained by the ACLU on their website. This is an argument that was also made by the Washington Post a few years ago when they published an article titled “Do voter identification laws suppress minority voting? Yes. We did the research” If voter ID laws suppress the minority vote, then why would minorities overwhelmingly favor it?
Well, the answer is quite simple: Voter ID laws do not suppress the vote. A study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research confirms it, and the voting data of Georgia (which has had strict voter ID laws since 2005) shows that despite the Peach State asking for voter Identification, the turnout rate of minorities has actually increased in the state, not decreased.
Democrats start shifting their stance on Voter ID
It appears that Democrats have started to shift their position on the issue of voter ID laws, with top Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrahms supporting a bill proposed by Joe Manchin which would include some voting ID provisos. Abrams has said that “no one has ever objected” to asking for ID to vote, although she has panned voter ID laws as part of a plan to suppress the vote of minorities.
With studies confirming that voter ID laws are not the suppression tactics that many feared they were, and with a substantial majority of Americans agreeing that asking for a photo ID when casting a ballot is an acceptable policy, it looks like the issue of voter ID will stop from being in the center of the debate, as Democrats start to focus their efforts on voting legislation on other issues.
The Monmouth poll might give us a good glimpse on which issues Democrats would push on due to their relative popularity with the American Public. For example, 50% of Americans support making it easier to vote-by-mail in general while only 39% think it should be made harder, and 71% of those asked think that early voting should be made easier and not harder. It would not be a surprise if Democrats shift their narrative away from Voter ID and into these types of policies.
Voting laws are the fundamental cornerstone of any Democratic system and reaching an agreement on the issue is vital for its health. Although both parties will continue to disagree over a large variety of issues, it looks like the crucial issue of voter ID will become moot.
Daniel is a Political Science and Economics student from the University of South Florida. He worked as a congressional intern to Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) from January to May 2020. He also is the head of international analysis at Politiks // Daniel es un estudiante de Cs Políticas y Economía en la Universidad del Sur de la Florida. Trabajo como pasante legislativo para el Representate Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) desde enero hasta mayo del 2020. Daniel también es el jefe de análisis internacional de Politiks.