Research shows link between racial bias, support for voter ID

Despite the Democrat-Republican dichotomy in the public debate over voter ID, there’s wider support for voter ID requirements on both sides of the aisle. That’s true, as Paul Brewer notes, “among people who say they support the party that generally opposes these laws.”

The researcher at the University of Delaware, working with political scientist David Wilson, found attitudes about race can help predict how people feel about voter ID laws. Specifically, Brewer and Wilson found those with negative opinions of African Americans were more likely to support voter ID requirements.

“Republicans [and] conservatives support voter ID laws the most, but the place where the impact of racial attitudes shows up the most is among Democrats and liberals,” Wilson said.

Brewer says because Republicans are overwhelmingly more likely to support voter ID overall, there’s more variability on the left end of the political spectrum, which is what makes the measure the research team calls “racial resentment” a more important factor.

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Hearings on a challenge to Pennsylvania’s voter ID law begin next week. The ACLU is charging that the new measure will disproportionately affect poor and minority voters.

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