NBER

Enrico Cantoni

University of Bologna
Department of Economics
Piazza Scaravilli 2, Bologna
Italy

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: University of Bologna

NBER Working Papers and Publications

February 2019Strict ID Laws Don't Stop Voters: Evidence from a U.S. Nationwide Panel, 2008–2016
with Vincent Pons: w25522
U.S. states increasingly require identification to vote – an ostensive attempt to deter fraud that prompts complaints of selective disenfranchisement. Using a difference-in-differences design on a 1.3-billion-observations panel, we find the laws have no negative effect on registration or turnout, overall or for any group defined by race, gender, age, or party affiliation. These results hold through a large number of specifications and cannot be attributed to mobilization against the laws, measured by campaign contributions and self-reported political engagement. ID requirements have no effect on fraud either – actual or perceived. Overall, our results suggest that efforts to reform voter ID laws may not have much impact on elections.

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