RALEIGH – Ever since Republican majorities in the N.C. General Assembly passed Voter ID laws in 2013, the Left has been crying ‘Racism!’ and arguing that the laws were designed to suppress and disenfranchise minority voters. They even found a judge to agree with them, thus overturning the law. Now, after voters approved amending the state constitution to require photo identification at the ballot box, a comprehensive study has concluded Voter ID laws “have no negative effect on registration or turnout, overall or for any group defined by race, gender, age, or party affiliation.”
Interestingly, the study from the National Bureau of Economic Research finds that, while such laws do not in any way depress turn out, they do not have a meaningful effect on stopping fraud either.
“These results hold through a large number of specifications and cannot be attributed to mobilization against the laws, measured by campaign contributions and self-reported political engagement. ID requirements have no effect on fraud either – actual or perceived. Overall, our results suggest that efforts to reform voter ID laws may not have much impact on elections.”
Naturally, Voter ID advocates are quick to point out the former conclusion, while opponents are quick to draw attention to the latter. But does it really matter? Vote integrity, however you slice it, is an essential part of the electoral system. While the fraud deterrent is not statistically significant, stopping just one fraudulent vote is worth it when there are no downsides.
The upside, though, is that people feel more confident that there vote is counted with safeguards that prevent tampering. Elections that go down to the wire will at least be afforded the assurance that in-person voting was secure and reliable.
So now that the people have spoken, the N.C. Constitution is amended, the implementing laws have been passed, and scientific studies show no negative effects, can we just move on make sure we remember to bring an I.D. to vote? That’d be nice, but we know that the Left, devoid of constructive ideas consistent with liberty, will find it impossible to abandon their smear campaigns and opposition to anything with an ‘R’ beside it.