Voter ID Laws Impact Turnout Through Registration

16 January 2024, Version 1
This content is an early or alternative research output and has not been peer-reviewed at the time of posting.


The proliferation of voter ID laws across the US has had an ambiguous impact on turnout rates among registered voters, despite fear from civil-rights advocates that these laws would suppress turnout. I advance the literature on voter ID laws by studying how Virginia’s 2014 law impacted both turnout and registration rates, finding significant and durable declines in both measures. I gather data on registered voters who lack DMV records and track changes in voting precincts over time to identify areas of the state where more people are likely to be impacted by the voter ID law. My findings suggest that the decline in overall turnout rates in voting precincts with higher shares of voters likely to lack valid ID is driven almost entirely by declines in registration rates. Identifying this suggests that voter ID laws have an important deterrent effect that prevents new voters from participating in the electoral process.


Voter ID
Election Administration


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