Photographic Voter Identification

Abstract:

Following the 2000 presidential election, there was a public outcry over the manner in which elections were conducted in the United States. This outcry led to the creation of the Commission on Comprehensive Reform which published its recommendations in a report entitled Building Confidence in U.S. Elections. Among the recommendations presented was a requirement for electors to present a photographic identification when casting a ballot in person. The State of Georgia implemented this requirement in 2005 with House Bill 244, which was struck down in court, and again in 2006 with Senate Bill 84. The requirements in Georgia, as well as in Indiana which also adopted photographic identification requirements, were challenged as being an unconstitutional imposition on the right to vote, a challenge which rose all the way to the United States Supreme Court in Crawford v. Marion County Elections Board. This paper will empirically examine the 2008 elections in contrast to the 2004 elections, which was the last presidential election year under the previous requirements. While controlling for various socioeconomic factors, the turnout rates from these two years are analyzed at the county level leading to results which seem to indicate the photographic identification requirements have no negative impact on voter turnout, either on the whole, or among various racial or economic demographics.

Keywords:

Voter Identification, Georgia, Policy Analysis

Author:

Daniel Rhodes Simpson, MPA
Adjunct Instructor of Political Science
Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Georgia Military College
Milledgeville, Georgia
dsimpson@gmc.cc.ga.us

Presentations:

  • Simpson, Daniel R. “Picturing Democracy: An Empirical Analysis of the Impact on Voter Turnout of Photographic Voter Identification Requirements in Georgia.” At The 2009 Meetings of the Georgia Political Science Association. Callaway Gardens, Georgia, November 2009.
  • Simpson, Daniel R. “Picturing Democracy: An Empirical Analysis of the Impact on Voter Turnout of Photographic Voter Identification Requirements in Georgia.” At the 2009 Student Research Conference at Georgia College & State University, Milledgeville, GA, April 17, 2009.
  • Simpson, Daniel R. “Picturing Democracy: An Empirical Analysis of the Impact on Voter Turnout of Photographic Voter Identification Requirements in Georgia.” At the 2009 Georgia Public Administration Academic Conference at Georgia College & State University, Milledgeville, GA, March 6, 2009
  • Simpson, Daniel R. “Picturing Democracy: An Empirical Analysis of the Impact on Voter Turnout of Photographic Voter Identification Requirements in Georgia.” At The 2008 Meetings of the Georgia Political Science Association at the Doubletree Inn, Savannah, GA, November 13-15, 2008