Study: Strong Evidence Of Discriminatory Intent Behind Voter ID Laws
A University of California study shows that racial bias is a strong motivator behind voter ID laws. Emails were sent to state legislators using two different names: Jacob Smith and Santiago Rodriguez. The emails were identical except for the sender’s name. Legislators who favored voter ID laws were much more responsive to Jacob Smith than they were to Santiago Rodriguez.
The researchers found that legislators who had supported voter ID laws were much more likely to respond to “Jacob Smith” than to “Santiago Rodriguez.” This gap reveals a preference for responding to constituents with Anglophone names over constituents with Hispanic ones.
There was also an Anglophone preference among legislators who had not backed ID requirements, but crucially this preference was much smaller. This finding held true among legislators who received English-language e-mails, as well as legislators who received Spanish e-mails…
“The fact that legislators supporting voter identification responded so much [less] to the Latino name is evidence anti-Latino bias, unrelated to electoral considerations, might be influencing these public policies,” they write. “The same elites who propose and support legislation to restrict Latino voting rights also provide less non-policy responsiveness to Latino constituents, at least in the context examined here. This means that the quality of representation is poor for many Latino constituents.”