How voter ID laws can suppress voter turnout
This segment originally aired Nov. 8, 2016, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.
“Over 300,000 people in the state of Wisconsin might not be able to vote because they’re confused about the photo ID law,” VoteRiders Statewide Coordinator Anita Johnson told VICE News correspondent Josh Hersh in Milwaukee prior to the election. African Americans, low-income communities, students and retirees were especially vulnerable, she said.
Wisconsin’s Republican legislature passed a bill in 2011 requiring photo ID at the polls with the goal of preventing fraud. Supporters of the voter ID law insist it’s necessary to protect the integrity of the vote.
“I don’t want somebody that’s illegally, or that’s a felon, or doesn’t live here, I don’t want them to cast a vote that negates my lawful vote,” Republican State Sen. Van H. Wanggaard said. “If somebody wants to vote, we’ve done everything under the sun to help make that happen.
Voter ID laws often require documents that lower-income people are less likely to have, which can hurt voter turnout in their communities. Wisconsin was one of the Midwestern states that polls suggested Hillary Clinton would win on Election Day but proved decisive in Donald Trump’s electoral college victory.
“Anybody who says that this isn’t confusing for voters, or that voter ID law doesn’t impact voters, or doesn’t deter voters, they’re lying, because I see it every day,” VoteRiders National Campaign Coordinator Molly McGrath said. “And if it’s an elected official saying this, then they’re lying to the public, they’re lying to the people they serve.”