State legislatures across the country are considering more than a hundred bills that would increase voter ID requirements, tighten no-excuse vote-by-mail, and ban ballot drop boxes, among other changes. That’s more than three times the number of bills to restrict voting that had been filed by this time last year.
This flood of legislation comes despite research showing that voter ID laws passed over the last decade not only don’t hamper minority turnout, but may even boost it by motivating angry Democrats and spurring stronger get-out-the-vote efforts.
Kathleen Unger, president of the nonpartisan voter ID assistance group VoteRiders, said that the new proposals sweep up a different set of voters.
She said the photocopied ID requirement would be particularly onerous for people who don’t have a valid photo ID or easy access to a copy machine or a printer. That would include many rural, lower-income and older voters – three groups that are now a big part of the Republican base – as well as those with disabilities and college students who lean Democratic.
David Becker, director of the nonpartisan Center for Election Innovation and Research, said the number of proposed restrictions is a sign Republicans are worried about demographic trends in those states.
“When you see a party trying to change the rules with as much intensity as they are, that tells you they have lost confidence in the power of their ideas to persuade voters,” he said.