2/13: The National Bureau of Economic Research published a study which found that strict voter ID laws don’t have any bearing on voter turnout.
Browsing: voter turnout
8/18: Massachusetts’ new automatic voter registration law is causing officials to question whether the policy will improve voter turnout.
3/20: Governor Jay Inslee signed a legislation package designed to increase voting registration and turnout in Washington State.
2/5: The League of Women Voters of Waco hopes to increase McLennan County’s 10-percent voter turnout will increase this year.
HUTCHINSON — Secretary of State Kris Kobach boasted that 51 percent voter turnout in November 2014 showed that requirements to prevent voter fraud actually can improve turnout.
Speaking Dec. 2 at the Patriot Freedom Alliance meeting in Hutchinson, Kobach pointed out that participation in the midterm general election in November 2010 – prior to the new voter rules – was 50 percent.
Kobach successfully sought legislation to require voter photo identification, to add security for mail ballots, and to mandate proof of citizenship for new voters. Critics charged the law would suppress voter turnout.
“The argument is dead,” Kobach said.
Kobach’s selection of 2010 as a benchmark made 51 percent appear good. He didn’t mention, though, the 52 percent turnout rate in the 2006 midterm, or the 53 percent turnout in 2002.
He selected 2010 for comparison, he told the audience, because the election circumstances in 2010 were “extremely similar to this year,” with interesting races.
The country had an unpopular president in 2010 – President Obama – and Kansas had an open race for governor and the U.S. Senate on the ballot, Kobach said.
In 2010, Kansans had a “very competitive” race for governor, and a “very competitive” Senate race, especially in the August 2010 primary but in the general election as well, Kobach said.
If there was a hidden agenda behind North Carolina’s voter ID law to suppress minority turnout – as the law’s opponents claim – it hasn’t worked, based on a study showing not only more voters overall, but an increase in black voter turnout especially, after the law’s implementation.
The findings came before a scheduled hearing next week where the U.S. Justice Department will ask a U.S. District Court for an injunction against the law going into the November midterms. The Obama administration has argued that such a law will make it more difficult for minorities to vote.
Comparing May 4, 2010 North Carolina primary election data with the May 14, 2014 primary data, the study found that voter turnout increased across the board, but particularly among black voters, where it increased by 29.5 percent, compared to an increase of white voter turnout of 13.7 percent. The findings were based on Census Bureau data and public names who signed the voter rolls.
Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, commissioned the study and included the findings in an amicus brief for the July 7 hearing. Judicial Watch was joined in its legal brief by the Allied Educational Foundation and by former Buncombe County commissioner candidate Christina Kelley Gallegos-Merrill.