WASHINGTON (AP) — States that stiffened their voter identification laws saw drops in election turnout, with disproportionate effect on blacks and younger people, according to a nonpartisan congressional study released Wednesday.
As of June, 33 states had enacted laws obligating voters to show a photo ID at the polls, the study said. Republicans say that requirement will reduce fraud, but Democrats insist the laws are a GOP effort to reduce Democratic turnout on Election Day.
The report by the Government Accountability Office was released less than a month before elections that will determine which party controls Congress.
The study found that election turnout in Kansas and Tennessee — which tightened voter ID requirements between the 2008 and 2012 elections — dropped more steeply than it did in four states that didn’t change their identification requirements.
The report found that in those two states, reduced voter turnout was sharper among people aged 18 to 23 than among those from 44 to 53. The drop was also more pronounced among blacks than whites, Hispanics or Asians.
Young people and blacks generally tend to support Democratic candidates.
The estimated reductions in voter turnout were about 2 percent greater in Kansas and from 2 to 3 percent sharper in Tennessee than they were in other states examined, the study said. The four other states, which did not make their voter ID laws stricter, were Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, and Maine.
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