In recent years there has been a dramatic increase in state legislation likely to reduce access for some voters, including photo identification and proof of citizenship requirements, registration restrictions, absentee ballot voting restrictions, and reductions in early voting. Political operatives often ascribe malicious motives when their opponents either endorse or oppose such legislation. In an effort to bring empirical clarity and epistemological standards to what has been a deeply charged, partisan and frequently anecdotal debate, this paper uses multiple specialized regression approaches to examine factors associated with both the proposal and adoption of restrictive voter access legislation from 2006-11. Our results indicate that proposal and passage are highly partisan, strategic, and racialized affairs. These findings are consistent with a scenario in which the targeted demobilization of minority voters and African Americans is a central driver of recent legislative developments. We discuss the implications of these results for current partisan and legal debates regarding voter restrictions and our understanding of the conditions incentivizing modern suppression efforts. Further, we situate these policies within developments in social welfare and criminal justice policy that collectively reduce electoral access among the socially marginalized.
Bentele, Keith Gunnar and O'Brien, Erin E., "Jim Crow 2.0?: Why States Consider and Adopt Restrictive Voter Access Policies" (2013). Sociology Faculty Publication Series. 11.
Copyright © American Political Science Association 2013