Turning Back the Clock on Voting Rights: The Impact of New Photo Identification Requirements on Young People of Color

Source: Cathy J. Cohen and Jon C. Rogowski, University of Chicago, Black Youth Project, 2012

From the summary:
• Since the 2008 presidential election, in which youth of color turned out to vote at historic rates, many state legislatures have passed new voting laws that require voters to show state-issued photo identification before being allowed to cast a valid ballot. This essay evaluates the potential effects of these laws on young people (ages 18-29) of color, including Blacks, Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders.
• Numerous studies show that people of color possess photo identification cards at much lower rates than whites. Because young people and lower-income people are also less likely to have photo identification, young people of color are likely to be disproportionately demobilized by these laws.
• Our estimates indicate that overall levels of turnout among young people of color are likely to be reduced by large numbers—between 538,000 and 696,000 in total—in the states that have passed these laws, perhaps falling below 2004 and 2008 levels.
• Across the country, at least 16 competitive House races have photo identification requirements that will likely disproportionately impact minority voters.
•Extensive voter mobilization and education efforts will be crucial to ensure high levels of turnout among young people of color in November 2012.