Voter ID Laws Didn’t Stop Obama Victory

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Despite the ramp of voter id laws springing up across states during this year’s presidential election cycle, the president won.

There were at least 13 states that enacted the law that required voters to present a valid state-issued photo id at the polls. Many saw this as a direct move from Republicans to try and sway the vote towards Mitt Romney, but it may have backfired.

Republicans put forth the legislation based on the notion that illegal aliens and criminals are going to debase and steal the upcoming election. Conversely, Democrats see these laws as a blatant effort to disenfranchise minorities, the poor, and students – typically Democratic voters.

Democratic efforts have been successful at killing the bills, many of which began back in 2006, but it’s implementation wasn’t enough to swing the election. The law took effect mostly in southern states like AK, TN, GA, AL, and SC.

In key swing states the law was either amended or put on hold until after the election. These states included VA, OH, PA, FLWI, MI and NC.

Still the voter id bill was not enough to capture votes for the Romney campaign, loosing both the popular vote and the electoral college.

Here is a breakdown of how the law was enacted in the election:

A breakdown of laws and executive actions in effect in 2012:
Florida
• Early voting restriction
• Executive action making it harder to restore voting rights for those with past criminal convictions
• Voter registration drive restrictions are still in place, but the most onerous aspects of the law were blocked by a federal court

Georgia
• Early voting restriction
• Georgia also has a photo ID law, which passed in 2005

Illinois
• Voter registration drive restriction

Iowa
• Executive action making it harder to restore voting rights for those with past criminal convictions

Kansas
• Photo ID required to vote

New Hampshire
• Voter ID required — non-photo IDs allowed for 2012 election, but photo ID required starting September 1, 2013

Pennsylvania
• Photo ID requested but NOT required to vote, per October 2, 2012 court decision

Rhode Island
• Voter ID required — non-photo IDs allowed for 2012 election, but photo ID required starting January 1, 2014

South Dakota
• Law making it harder to restore voting rights for those with past criminal convictions

Tennessee
• Photo ID required to vote
• Proof of citizenship required to register
• Early voting restriction

Texas
• Voter registration drive restriction
• Texas passed a law requiring a photo ID to vote, but a federal court blocked that law in August — it will NOT be in effect for 2012

Virginia
• Voter ID required, including non-photo ID

West Virginia
• Early voting restriction

Wisconsin
• Voter registration restriction
• Wisconsin passed a law requiring photo ID to vote, but two state courts blocked that law — it will NOT be in effect for 2012

A breakdown of laws passed that will NOT be in effect in 2012:
Ohio
• Early voting hours were restored for the three days before the election

South Carolina
• A federal court did NOT approve South Carolina’s photo ID law for the 2012 election — a voter can use their non-photo voter registration card after 2012, so long as they state the reason for not having obtained a photo ID

Data for this story was taken from the Brennan Center for Justice.

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