Study: Strong Evidence of Discriminatory Intent Behind Voter ID Laws

Christopher Ingraham: “State legislators who support voter ID laws are motivated in no small part by racial bias, according to a new study from the University of Southern California. The study finds strong evidence that ‘discriminatory intent underlies legislative support for voter identification laws.'”

The study: “In the two weeks prior to the 2012 election, [researchers] sent e-mail correspondence to a total of 1,871 state legislators in 14 states.”

“The key to the experiment lies in that voter name field. One group of legislators received e-mail from a voter who identified himself as ‘Jacob Smith.’ The other received email from ‘Santiago Rodriguez.’ Moreover, half of the legislators in each of these two groups received e-mails written in Spanish, while half received English-language e-mails.”

“The researchers found that legislators who had supported voter ID laws were much more likely to respond to ‘Jacob Smith’ than to ‘Santiago Rodriguez.’ This gap reveals a preference for responding to constituents with Anglophone names over constituents with Hispanic ones.”

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