Voter ID Laws Believed to Have Significantly Dropped Wisconsin’s Black Voter Turnout in 2016

Blavity Team, Blavity, November 7, 2017

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[A] recent study from the Center for American Progress that investigated black voter turnout in Wisconsin in 2016 has been released. {snip}

Black voter turnout dipped about 19 percent from 2012 to 2016. Voter turnout dropped across the nation in that period, but the drop in black voters in Wisconsin was four times the national decline.

Voter turnout also dropped among the Latinx and Asian communities in Wisconsin by 5.8 and 5.7 percent, respectively.

There was white voter decline as well, but it wasn’t such a sharp dip (2.2 percent).

The study, which took data from the U.S. Census, polls and state voter files, pointed out that there was one key difference between elections in 2012 and 2016: a state photo ID requirement.

The requirement that all voters present a photo ID before being allowed to vote was put into effect for the first time in the 2016 presidential election. At the time, activists argued that the law amounted to voter suppression, as the state’s minorities were less likely to have the government issued photo IDs necessary to cast a ballot.

Non-commercial driver’s licences and IDs range in price from $28 to $35 in Wisconsin, according to the state’s Department of Transportation. According to the National Council of State Legislatures, Wisconsin’s minimum wage is currently $7.25. Some critics of the ID law argue that asking those making minimum wage to give up four hours of work so that they can vote is too much to ask.

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