Screaming opponents of voter ID laws, who argue that such a commonsense measure suppresses the vote or is even racist, are terrible liars. The best lies, after all, have to be remotely credible, and theirs are not.
This is the most important conclusion to draw from a new and illuminating study from the National Bureau of Economic Research. Researchers Mark Hoekstra and Vijetha Koppa looked at more than 2,000 election races in Florida and Michigan. In those two states, where voters are asked for an ID at the polls but can still vote without it, the study found what common sense would suggest: that nearly everyone has and brings an ID when they go to vote, even in places where it isn’t strictly necessary.
“The law affects so few people,” the authors write, “that at most only 0.10% and 0.31% of total votes cast in each state were cast without IDs.”
This demonstrates two things. First, as most proponents of voter IDs have acknowledged all along, there aren’t millions of fake votes being cast in elections. The point of enacting voter ID laws is not that our system is hopelessly compromised, but rather that it is needlessly vulnerable. As with measures to combat Russian interference in our elections, voter ID and similar election integrity reforms will not change election outcomes. But such reforms will bolster faith in the existing truth that we elect our political leaders democratically.
Second, the study makes clear the monstrous lies that left-wing groups have been telling about identification in general and the effects of voter IDs in particular. They claimed in court filings, no less, that as many as a million Hoosiers who are eligible to vote lack any form of legal identification. Last decade, the Brennan Center for Justice made the ludicrous claim that as many as 11% of all voting-age citizens — that’s tens of millions of adults, not including resident immigrants, legal or illegal — lack a photo ID.