Study shows state legislators in favor of voter ID laws are motivated by racial bias

Jul 18, 2014 by Susan Bell

Groundbreaking research by USC Dornsife's Christian Grose, associate professor of political science, and doctoral candidate Matthew Mendez has shown that lawmakers who support voter ID laws are more likely to show racial bias against Latino constituents.

"We wanted to find out if we could detect bias among legislators toward certain groups of people affected by voter ID laws," Mendez said. Such laws require registered voters to show government-issued ID, such as a driving license, before they can vote.

"We decided to focus on Latinos, because while there's a lot of talk of Latinos being affected by voter ID laws, there's substantially less about what legislators think of Latinos themselves in relation to these laws."

Featured in The Washington Post and other publications, the study found strong evidence that "discriminatory intent underlies legislative support for voter identification laws."

The findings also raise questions about the constitutionality of voter ID laws, which the Supreme Court affirmed in 2007.

Supporters argue that voter ID laws are necessary to combat voter fraud. Opponents point to research showing that voter fraud involving impersonation occurs so rarely it is almost negligible. Moreover, they argue, such laws disproportionately affect minority and low-income groups, as well as the elderly.

Voter ID laws are being passed in more and more states, Grose said.

"In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that such laws are acceptable because there's a compelling state interest to protect against voter fraud, even if there are discriminatory effects against, for example senior citizens, Latinos, or African Americans," Grose noted. "But what is not legal is laws passed with the intent to discriminate against minorities. Since our study shows that legislators who support these laws do respond differentially to minorities, that raises some legal questions about the law that are potentially very big indeed."

To test bias among state legislators, Grose and Mendez developed a pioneering field experiment. In the two weeks leading to the Nov. 4, 2012 general election, they sent e-mails to 1,871 state legislators in 14 states with the largest Latino populations in the U.S. The e-mails read as follows:

Hello (Representative/Senator NAME),

My name is (voter NAME) and I have heard a lot in the news lately about identification being required at the polls. I do not have a driver's license. Can I still vote in November? Thank you for your help.

Sincerely,
(voter NAME)

Grose and Mendez sent one group of legislators the e-mail from a fictional voter they named "Jacob Smith." The other group received it from fictional voter "Santiago Rodriguez." In each group, half the legislators received e-mails written in Spanish, while half received e-mails in English.

The study was designed so none of the states included required driving licenses in order to vote. This meant legislators could theoretically have responded to the e-mails with a simple "yes."

Grose and Mendez then measured how many legislators responded in each category.

The results showed that lawmakers who had supported voter ID requirements were much more likely to respond to "Jacob Smith" than to "Santiago Rodriguez," thereby revealing a preference for responding to constituents with Anglophone names over constituents with Hispanic ones. They also showed legislators were more likely to respond to English than Spanish-language constituents.

Among voter ID supporters, the responsiveness to Latino constituents was dramatically lower than to Anglo constituents. Even within the Spanish language constituents' requests, the Spanish speaker with an Anglo name was responded to nine percentage points more than a Spanish speaker with a Latino name. The latter received virtually no response from the voter ID supporters, with a response rate of just one percent.

Among both Republican and Democrat lawmakers who do not support voter ID, Spanish-language constituents with both Anglo and Spanish surnames received almost the same rate of response at around 12 percent, with no statistical difference in preference for the Anglophone or Hispanic name, Mendez said.

And while an Anglophone name bias could still be observed among non-voter ID supporters who received English-language e-mails, it was much smaller—a difference of 6.9 percentage points compared to a difference of 17.5 percentage points for the supporters of voter ID laws.

"I was shocked by the magnitude of the bias," Mendez said. "I went in thinking we might find a gap of some kind, but I wasn't prepared for an almost 20 percentage point gap among those who support voter ID laws based on the name of the ethnicity of the constituent."

"Research shows everyone has biases," Grose said. "However, in politics, we tend to believe that logically those biases should be overcome by an elected official's interest in seeking out reelection. Thus one might imagine that legislators would respond to constituents without regard to ethnic and racial backgrounds because if every person is a potential voter there's no reason not to do so. However, our study shows that is not the case."

The results of the study also have implications for the quality of representation for Latino constituents.

"The same elites who propose and support legislation to restrict Latino voting rights also provide less non-policy responsiveness to Latino constituents, at least in the context examined here. This means that the quality of representation is poor for many Latino constituents," the researchers wrote.

Grose and Mendez noted that while the majority of legislators who support voter ID are Republican, the majority of Republicans in the study sample did not support voter ID.

"The people who are not responding to Latinos and who favor voter ID are a numerical minority in the sample in general, and also a minority within the Republican party, and so the findings of our study are not driven by partisanship," Grose said.

Grose has authored an article published last month in The Annual Review of Political Science arguing there should be more such studies conducted on elected officials.

"Considering legislators worthy of experimentation in this kind of study and also working with public officials to convince them to collaborate with us in similar experiments with their colleagues so we can learn about politics and governance is something we encourage in our and international relations Ph.D. program," Grose said.

"We didn't conduct this study to either support or oppose voter ID per se, but I would like to see the results being used by the legal and policy community."

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User comments : 43

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Dr_toad
Jul 18, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
ryggesogn2
2.2 / 5 (13) Jul 18, 2014
Mexicans must be racists as Mexico required ID to vote.
Are liquor stores, banks, TSA, ....racist for requiring ID?

Anyone opposed to a photo ID for voting supports voter fraud and must be a 'liberal'.
Dr_toad
Jul 18, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
JamesG
2.8 / 5 (13) Jul 18, 2014
The idea that it is racist to require people to provide the same ID they have to provide to get a car registration or a bank account is just ludicrous. I think the racists here are the authors of the study.
ryggesogn2
2.5 / 5 (8) Jul 18, 2014
"Mexican officials unveiled the voting ID two decades ago to properly identify electors in a country with a history of voters casting multiple ballots and curious vote counts resulting in charges of fraud — most notoriously in 1988 when a computer crash wiped out early results favoring the opposition.

The credential proved so good at guaranteeing the identification of electors that it became the country's preferred credential, one now possessed by just about every adult Mexican. Its widespread acceptance deepened democracy, too, by giving credibility to the Federal Electoral Institute, analysts say. The agency was created as an independent agency to oversee federal elections."
"
http://usatoday30...779410/1
ryggesogn2
2.3 / 5 (9) Jul 18, 2014
" The Federal Electoral Institute also refused to extend the registration period or grant an amnesty for those applying late, leaving more than a million people ineligible to vote.

"It is a matter that has to do with a culture of respect for the law," Francisco Guerrero, one of the nine commissioners on the institute, told the newspaper Reforma."
""In order to strengthen democracy, we have to start believing in our own institutions. That's a big challenge in Mexico.""
http://usatoday30...779410/1
No wonder so many Mexican want to be in the US. The US no longer cares about the rule of law.
ryggesogn2
2.3 / 5 (9) Jul 18, 2014
"Sierra Leone is not implementing a photo ID requirement. The method of voter ID adopted is biometric fingerprint scanning. More irony; Sierra Leone is not the first country to adopt this ID technology. Ghana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria (famous for the e-mail scams) and Kenya! Yes, Kenya. They have all seen the necessity of a fair election process that reduces the opportunity for fraudulent votes being cast. The United Nations has taken a roll in the implementation of these measures while our own Attorney General takes an active role in attempting to strike down efforts to ensure fraudulent votes are not cast. "
http://grumpyelde...-it-but/
Dr_toad
Jul 18, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
kochevnik
Jul 18, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Dr_toad
Jul 18, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Scroofinator
3 / 5 (10) Jul 18, 2014
Voter ID is the cheapest and most sensible way to combat voter fraud and rigged elections, period.

Can somebody explain how it's racist to have a card that proves who you are?
field_gareth
1.6 / 5 (5) Jul 18, 2014
So, first, I'd like to call out the toad as a troll, and second

Sorry, SECOND, the point at which I found something I thought was really interesting was the 'shocked at the magnitude' part and basically I think that if you're doing an experiment in poly sci and don't think that racism is really big, maybe umm ... how did that not get across in the main curriculum?
Dr_toad
Jul 18, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (8) Jul 18, 2014
poor who can't afford to take off work

Where are 'the poor' working?
Obama and his minions have been doing all they can to keep people from working and putting them on some sort of dole.
'Liberals' NEED 'the poor' and dependent to vote for them. Or, at least be regisisterd so someone else can vote for them. With no ID will know?
BTW, how can 'the poor' get govt welfare without an ID?
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (9) Jul 18, 2014
"The Obama administration has illegally paid out billions of dollars in tax credits to undocumented immigrants for relatives back in Mexico, promoting rampant tax fraud, even as it has made it much harder for hard-working immigrants to work legally in this country.

Record numbers of Americans are now on food stamps, food stamp fraud has risen into the billions, and even wealthy people have become eligible for food stamps in some states as the government rewards states for expanding eligibility to people who don't need them."
"The Obama administration also claimed the authority to waive the legally-unwaivable work requirements in the 1996 welfare reform law,"

http://cei.org/20...c-safety
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (10) Jul 18, 2014
" "I questioned her as to why she had other peoples (sic) EBT cards and she 
began screaming that I was a 'dumb (expletive)' for paying for food when she gets it for free," trooper William Koko­cinski wrote of Vivencia 
Bellegarde, 25, of Everett, noting she had her own electronic benefits transfer card and also the cards of two other people.

"She repeatedly called me a racist and told me she was from Haiti and she was gonna 'put voodoo on my white (expletive),'" Kokocinski wrote. "(She) told me to Google her name and find out who I was '(expletive) with'. She further explained that her name translated means 'give life take life' and she emphasized 'TAKE LIFE'. She then shouted that she was 'coming for all you white (expletives).'"
http://www.boston...villian/
AlexCoe
2.1 / 5 (7) Jul 18, 2014
First off in an electeds office, the representative never screens their own correspondence, never! The folks doing this study should have known that if they had ever corresponded with one before.

The survey, if it's to be believed that it was in fact done in a manner that wasn't biased, should have also included other languages, not just Spanish nor just Latino sounding names. It is very easy to discredit this as another weak attempt to paint those who wish to see voter fraud reduced as being biased and therefore to be ignored.

I can just as easily state that, knowing that the survey was carried out in a manner that would predispose it to finding a racial bias with political office staffers, that those who wrote this study up are in fact racially or politically biased. There is equal supporting evidence for that statement as there is for the survey's conclusion.
Dr_toad
Jul 18, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Scroofinator
2.1 / 5 (7) Jul 19, 2014
I realize you can't think for yourself, but it's worth a try, you know?


Wart boy, you haven't proven me wrong on a single thing on this site, so where do you find the ego to say dumb shit like this?

then charging for an ID may be.

Really? So now racism depends on how much money you have depending on what country your in? I don't see how that's even considered as an excuse for not having an ID when you vote. If your a citizen, then you should be able to be properly ID'd. Maybe we should go to fingerprint, or retinal scans, biometric signatures, or how about facial/voice recognition? I know the technology is already there.

Please explain to me how this isn't doable?

Don't say money, that's just a rich man's excuse
alfie_null
5 / 5 (8) Jul 19, 2014
Obama and his minions . . .

You don't like Obama. Got it. You could have saved yourself a whole lot of typing.

I wonder who you'll blame when he's out of office.
JohnGee
5 / 5 (4) Jul 19, 2014
This article is common knowledge unless you're a klan member.
Dr_toad
Jul 19, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (6) Jul 19, 2014
How about giving folks a test to prove that they're smart enough to make an informed choice?

Many 'liberals' here propose such tests.
And with the 'liberal' support of the socialist regulatory state, they assert the 'experts' know best and must control the lives of others.
Dr_toad
Jul 19, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
ryggesogn2
1.2 / 5 (5) Jul 19, 2014
it's just such a shame that discerning intelligent people like you aren't in control, right?

WRONG.
I support the US Constitution.
It is the 'liberal' socialist, like toad, who believes the state should control the lives of others.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (5) Jul 19, 2014
"Democratic party spokesmen justify their opposition to laws requiring proof of citizenship in order to register to vote by the absurd claim that poor people do not have birth certificates or passports. But we require everyone, including the poor, to produce such documents when becoming employed for their I-9 Forms. And if that is tolerable, then it must also be tolerable for the same documents to be produced to register to vote and some sort of photo ID in order to vote.

There is a huge problem with voter fraud. And, in my opinion, it is proven by the vehemence of the Democrats, the beneficiaries of the fraud, toward enforcement of our laws."
http://www.huffin...523.html
Dr_toad
Jul 19, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (6) Jul 19, 2014
toad, how do you like this CinC?
"According to the New York Post, "In a stunning display of callousness, the Defense Department has announced that thousands of soldiers — many serving as commanding officers in Afghanistan — will be notified in the coming weeks that their service to the country is no longer needed. Last week, more than 1,100 Army captains — the men and women who know best how to fight this enemy because they have experienced multiple deployments — were told they'll be retired from the Army."
Read more at http://allenbwest...5zzEO.99
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (6) Jul 19, 2014
"Politico Ignores Democrat Opposition to White House Placing Immigrant Children In States"
http://www.breitb...n-States
Democrats are racist?
Dr_toad
Jul 19, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
DoieaS
2.1 / 5 (7) Jul 19, 2014
We decided to focus on Latinos, because while there's a lot of talk of Latinos being affected by voter ID laws, there's substantially less about what legislators think of Latinos themselves in relation to these laws.
It's not about what you may think about it, but what the numbers and hard data say. The Hispanic & black should have the Voter ID mandatory: if nothing else, than just for their inclination to crime and cheating - this is a rational stance. For other races the Voter ID requirement poses rather a controversial restriction of personal freedom.
Dr_toad
Jul 19, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
DoieaS
2.1 / 5 (7) Jul 19, 2014
Do you consider the graphs like this one racist or scientific?
Dr_toad
Jul 19, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
DoieaS
1.7 / 5 (6) Jul 19, 2014
Avoiding the question, poser?
Scroofinator
1 / 5 (5) Jul 19, 2014
That isn't English.

Then what it is, Klingon? You're the most worthless poster here, rarely offering anything to the conversation other than insults. Do try to be civilized...
zaxxon451
5 / 5 (2) Jul 19, 2014
I'm assuming their usage of "groundbreaking" was sarcastic. "Obvious" would better describe this research.
ShotmanMaslo
1.8 / 5 (4) Jul 20, 2014
Racist intent or not doesnt matter, reliable identification of voters is an elementary function of any government. IDs exist in Europe and there are zero issues with it. Any problems with voter disfranchisement could be solved by making the IDs easy to get and subsidized.
kochevnik
2 / 5 (4) Jul 20, 2014
The Hispanic & black should have the Voter ID mandatory
And the white race too. Predisposed to becoming junkie tweakers and meth addiction is 96% uncurable so the palefaces become STD ridden whores and dumpster divers
Captain Stumpy
4.2 / 5 (5) Jul 20, 2014
Do you consider the graphs like http://www.ronunz...art1.gif racist or scientific?
@zephir
if you are going to use a graph like that, you should choose a site like DOJ, not a blog that specifically states
Ron Unz – Writings and Perspectives
Views, Opinions, and Notes
IOW - no empirical data.
It MIGHT be correct, it also MIGHT be a figment of the imagination of the author
there ARE graphs/charts/statistics for this on DOJ.. so DR's conclusions of racist are exactly TRUE as you are offering a non-empirical source with a message that is against a race for reasons not supported by your post.
Captain Stumpy
4 / 5 (4) Jul 20, 2014
It's not about what you may think about it, but what the numbers and hard data say.
@Zephir
ok... the definition of racist
The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others
per the definition and your comment
The Hispanic & black should have the Voter ID mandatory: if nothing else, than just for their inclination to crime and cheating
YOU ARE A RACIST
The Hispanic & black should have the Voter ID mandatory: if nothing else, than just for their inclination to crime and cheating - this is a rational stance. For other races the Voter ID requirement poses rather a controversial restriction of personal freedom.
if EVERYONE is not ID'ed, then NO ONE should be ID'ed. PERIOD. it is an all or nothing common sense approach. White people have shown the same inclination for crime as any other race.
Dr_toad
Jul 20, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
snowflake0446
5 / 5 (1) Jul 20, 2014
Problem: There is a fear that there are too many illegals in this country. Thus people are in fear that those who are not citizens will attempt to vote to get the country to move in a direction of their choosing. Discrimination is necessary. We must discriminate between those who are citizens and those who are not. Voting is a privilege, not a God-given right.
Answer: Think what you will, but Government (State) issued and recognized voter ID seems like the simplest way to discriminate between citizen and non-citizen and thus alleviate this fear of non-citizens voting, whether it's factual or not.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (1) Jul 20, 2014
Think what you will, but Government (State) issued and recognized voter ID seems like the simplest way to discriminate between citizen and non-citizen and thus alleviate this fear of non-citizens voting, whether it's factual or not.
@snowflake0446
this is not actually discrimination, it is detection.
Voting is a RIGHT to the CITIZEN as guaranteed under the Constitution (actually I believe the founding fathers wanted it more as a responsibility, but that is IMHO) http://www.uscis....-654.pdf

I don't see a problem with insuring that voters are actually US citizens before allowing them to vote... perhaps I am wrong in my perspective? I don't know...
Discrimination is something like Zephir said
The Hispanic & black should have the Voter ID mandatory
which is racially biased

so I don't think it is "discrimination" so much as "differentiation" by citizenship & rights
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (5) Jul 20, 2014
Thus people are in fear that those who are not citizens will attempt to vote to get the country to move in a direction of their choosing.


It's not fear, it's a reality.
A reality socialists support to expand the dependent class, and if they don't vote, enable someone else to vote 'the correct way' for them.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (2) Jul 20, 2014
so I don't think it is "discrimination" so much as "differentiation" by citizenship & rights
"differentiation" as in: to differentiate

which means

: to see or state the difference or differences between two or more things

IMHO - it is not wrong to request a voter prove citizenship as long as ALL VOTERS are given the demand EQUALLY and without BIAS TOWARDS RACE or any other method that segregates by arbitrary variables, like sexism, religion, sexual orientation, etc

I believe the Supreme Court also said pretty much the same thing, too.
jackjump
2 / 5 (4) Jul 20, 2014
The real racists/bigots here are those who assume that the minorities they are trying to protect from having to obtain photo IDs are too dumb, lazy or otherwise incapable of getting photo IDs. That is, of course, unless their real purpose is to ensure it's easier to conduct voter fraud in which case they're just unethical, immoral and potentially criminal.
JohnGee
3.4 / 5 (5) Jul 20, 2014
Any comment the begins with "the real racists" was most definitely thought up by a racist.

"I'm not racist but" is also the same.
jackjump
2 / 5 (4) Jul 20, 2014
I know you are but what am I? Just trying to get down to your level. Now give me a reason for wanting to protect minorities from having to obtain photo IDs that doesn't demean them as less able to do so than non minorities. And don't say they're discriminated against. Majorities and governments bend over backward to not discriminate. They avoid even the appearance of discriminating. They go so far as to accept that minorities shouldn't have to meet the same standards as other people like having to have a photo ID for voting even though they need one for damn near every other activity that requires one be an adult. That opens the door for massive voter fraud which is often the real motivation for relaxed voter ID standards. This article simply uses the subterfuge of a study to condemn as racist those legislators who want voting to require a photo ID (a logical requirement). In much the same way you condemn me as racist for saying they are the real racists. I detect a pattern.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (5) Jul 20, 2014
"Speaking at the National Council of La Raza conference in Los Angeles, Gutierrez said that Obama assured him during a White House meeting with Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus last week that he would be as "generous and broad" as he can to "stop the deportation of our people each and every day." "
http://www.breitb...-Amnesty
No racism here, now move along.
Dr_toad
Jul 20, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (6) Jul 20, 2014
Toady doesn't care to refute how racist democrats use minorities to commit fraud keeping the socialists power?
snowflake0446
5 / 5 (3) Jul 20, 2014
Captain Stumpy. Thank you for understanding my comment. That's what I meant. But I used the word discrimination on purpose. Like all words, we subjectively define discrimination as a bad thing in certain contexts or a positive thing in others (e.g. "she has discriminating taste"). As you could tell, I was attempting to use it based on its more objective definition to prove that people do discriminate. We choose to shop at Target vs. Walmart. We choose to purchase X instead of Y. That's discrimination. It's not bad. It's just choosing between one over another. There's nothing wrong with that.

What is wrong, as you pointed out, is choosing or discriminating based on items listed in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and any amendments that have since followed. Again, my thanks.
Dr_toad
Jul 20, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
kochevnik
1 / 5 (3) Jul 20, 2014
What is wrong, as you pointed out, is choosing or discriminating based on items listed in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and any amendments that have since followed. Again, my thanks.
That list was made by corporatists to expand and dilute the labor pool and lower wages. Support for it had nothing to do with the noble propaganda and brainwashing you clearly assimilated
Dr_toad
Jul 20, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
bertibus
1 / 5 (3) Jul 21, 2014
@Dr toad I don't know if you are a new poster here or someone using a new handle:
1) If you can't post without cursing and demeaning the author of every counter argument, then you should go elsewhere. There are plenty of forums for people whose idea of a conversation is similar to yours.
2) European election officials came to the US for the last presidential election and were, "horrified" (in their own words) at the almost complete lack of identification requirements to vote. I guess they're all racists.
ryggesogn2
1.8 / 5 (5) Jul 21, 2014
If you can't post without cursing and demeaning the author of every counter argument, then you should go elsewhere.


That's what happens when one can't put forward a cogent opposing thought.
kochevnik
1 / 5 (4) Jul 21, 2014
Ignorant BS.

What the fuck is a "corporatist"? Something you get from Fox or Breitbart, like a social disease? What's with the noise about dilution, too? Unthinking fool, and happy with it.
Actually it's the basis of fascism and what empowered Hitler. Your insipid American reality bubble will pop without consequence soon enough in the greater sphere. Then your progeny can marry barrel-shaped Mexicans who will probably become the dominant demographic force forever