Date of this Version
Gromowsky, J. 2023. An Analysis of the Impact of Strict Photo ID Laws on Election Turnout: Do They Discriminate Against Minority Voters? Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Over the last 20 years, states across the nation have passed photo ID laws requiring potential voters to provide a form of identification before they can cast their ballots. These laws have generated great controversy, with opponents of the laws accusing them of being racially discriminatory. Studies attempting to analyze their effects on turnout have resulted in differing results due to different methodologies, and no consensus has been reached in the academic literature regarding this topic. Recognizing that laws do not exist in isolation and that people can react to their implementation in different ways, this paper examines the effects of strict photo ID laws on turnout over time, looking beyond the first election after their implementation in an effort to gain a better view of their true impact. Using a staggered difference-in-differences analysis, this paper finds that while turnout among all sections of the voting population declines after the implementation of a strict photo ID law, White voters begin to return to their pre-implementation levels in subsequent elections while turnout among minority voters stays reduced.