Salon.com writer Sonya Ross takes a hard look at the impact of new photo ID requirements on the political participation of young people of color this November.
Using data from the Black Youth Project’s latest memo, “Turning Back the Clock on Voting Rights: The Impact of New Photo Identification Requirements on Young People of Color,” Ross asserts that as many as 700,000 minority voters under the age of 30 will be unable to vote in November because of these laws.
“‘Our estimates are conservative. We are looking at demobilization from 9 to 25 percent,’ said Cathy Cohen, a University of Chicago expert on young and minority voters, who worked on the study with Jon Rogowski of Washington University. ‘If young people really have valid IDs at a rate of only 25 or even 50 percent, the number of young people of color disenfranchised will be even greater than what we estimate.’
The study says that 17 states have either put a strict photo ID requirement in place, request photo ID but have provisional alternatives in place for those without it, or have passed a photo ID law that has yet to take effect. Those states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.”
As the article notes, young minority voters tend to be poorer; their ability to have the right documentation, visit the appropriate offices, and pay required fees is limited.
Many young people aren’t even aware of these new laws.
“The analysis by Cohen and Rogowski was released this week by the Chicago-based Black Youth Project, a nonpartisan effort launched in 2004 to examine the political participation of African-Americans aged 15 to 25. It estimated that new photo requirements potentially could turn away:
—170,000 to 475,000 young black voters.
—68,000 to 250,000 young Hispanic voters.
—13,000 to 46,000 young Asian-American voters.
—1,700 to 6,400 young Native American voters.
—700 to 2,700 young Pacific Islander voters.
Those numbers amount to a potential erosion of the gains in young minority voter participation over the two previous presidential election cycles, the analysis said.”
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