Search results for: "voter ID"

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) resisted the lock-step effort by House Republicans last week. In a lame-duck session, Republicans in the House voted to eliminate the right of registered voters who lacked an acceptable photo ID to instead vote a regular ballot after signing an affidavit attesting to their identify. House Bill 6066 would have done away with affidavit ballots–some 18,000 of which were cast (and counted) in the 2016 General Election.

Although Republican support for strict voter ID laws is a necessary condition–only a single Democratic-controlled legislature (Rhode Island) has passed a restrictive law, as my colleagues and I argue in our 2015 Political Research Quarterly article, it’s not a sufficient condition. Not all Republican-controlled legislatures have pushed for, nor adopted more restrictive voter ID laws. Instead, our findings show it is a combination of partisan control and the broader electoral context in a state that drives enactment of such measures.

We extend this analysis in our 2016 State Politics and Policy Quarterly article, in which we examine individual legislators’ votes on all of the restrictive voter identification (ID) bills that received a floor vote across the states from 2005 to 2013. Again, going beyond the base partisan polarization that characterizes the the votes of most state lawmakers on voting related issues, we find a notable relationship between the racial composition of a member’s district and electoral competition shapes the likelihood that a state lawmaker supports a restrictive voter ID bill. Most notably, we find that Democratic lawmakers representing substantial black district populations are more opposed to restrictive voter ID laws, whereas Republican legislators with substantial black district populations are more supportive of the laws.  Finally, we find that in those state legislatures where electoral competition is not intense, polarization over voter ID laws is less stark, which likely reflects the expectation that adopting restrictive voter ID laws will have little bearing on the outcome of state legislative contests.

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William D. Hicks, Seth C. McKee, and Daniel A. Smith, “The Determinants of State Legislator Support for Restrictive Voter ID Laws,” State Politics and Policy Quarterly 16:4 (December): 411-31.

 

Abstract

We examine state legislator behavior on restrictive voter identification (ID) bills from 2005 to 2013. Partisan polarization of state lawmakers on voter ID laws is well known, but we know very little with respect to other determinants driving this political division. A major shortcoming of extant research evaluating the passage of voter ID bills stems from using the state legislature as the unit of analysis. We depart from existing scholarship by using the state legislator as our unit of analysis, and we cover the entirety of the period when restrictive voter ID laws became a frequent agenda item in state legislatures. Beyond the obviously significant effect of party affiliation, we find a notable relationship between the racial composition of a member’s district, region, and electoral competition and the likelihood that a state lawmaker supports a voter ID bill. Democratic lawmakers representing substantial black district populations are more opposed to restrictive voter ID laws, whereas Republican legislators with substantial black district populations are more supportive. We also find Southern lawmakers (particularly Democrats) are more opposed to restrictive voter ID legislation. In particular, we find black legislators in the South are the least supportive of restrictive voter ID bills, which is likely tied to the historical context associated with state laws restricting electoral participation. Finally, in those state legislatures where electoral competition is not intense, polarization over voter ID laws is less stark, which likely reflects the expectation that the reform will have little bearing on the outcome of state legislative contests.

 

Full article available here:

The Determinants of State Legislator Support for Restrictive Voter ID Laws

William D. Hicks, Appalachian State University
Seth C. McKee, Texas Tech University
Daniel A. Smith, University of Florida

Forthcoming, State Politics and Policy Quarterly

Abstract
We examine state legislator behavior at the passage stage of voting on restrictive voter identification (ID) bills from 2005 to 2013. Partisan polarization of state lawmakers on voter ID laws is well known but we know very little with respect to other determinants driving this political division. With rare exceptions, a major shortcoming of extant research evaluating the passage of voter ID bills stems from using the state legislature as the unit of analysis. We depart from existing scholarship by using the state legislator as our primary unit of analysis and we cover the entirety of the period when restrictive voter ID laws became a frequent agenda item in state legislatures, from the first passage of a strict photo ID bill in 2005 to the latest measures passed in 2013. Beyond the obviously significant effect of party affiliation, we find that there exists a notable relationship between the racial composition a member’s district, region, and electoral competition, and the likelihood that a state lawmaker supports a voter ID bill. Democratic lawmakers representing substantial black district populations are more opposed to restrictive voter ID laws, whereas Republican legislators with substantial black district populations are more supportive. Controlling for party, we find southern lawmakers (particularly Democrats) to be more opposed to restrictive voter ID legislation. Further, all else equal, we find black legislators in the South to be the least supportive of restrictive voter ID bills, which is likely tied to the historical context associated with state laws restricting electoral participation. Finally, in those state legislatures where electoral competition is not intense, partisan polarization over voter ID laws is less stark, which likely reflects the expectation that the reform will have little bearing on the outcome of state legislative contests.

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