Costs of Voter ID

Source: Karen Shanton, LegisBrief , Vol. 21 no. 12, March 2013
(subscription required)

Photo ID is on the agenda again this session in many states. Bills requiring voters to show photographic identification at the polls have been introduced in at least 14 state legislatures, and lawmakers plan to introduce them in at least three more. Proponents argue that these requirements preserve the integrity of elections, while opponents say they may discourage eligible voters from casting ballots.

Photo ID laws could carry costs. Providing free ID cards, voter education, expanded poll worker training and/or wages, additional provisional ballots and legal challenges are some of the expenses states can anticipate. Following is a summary of the types of costs often associated with these laws.