8 Questions

Bill Turque on what to expect
on Election Day

Question 5: Will new state voter ID requirements keep large numbers from voting?

Not to the extent once anticipated. Over the past two years, measures requiring voter identification became law in nine states, nearly all of them Republican-controlled. But courts and the federal government have struck down or placed on hold laws in four of them: Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin. Laws in Alabama, Rhode Island and South Carolina won’t take effect until 2013 or 2014. That leaves Kansas, Tennessee, Georgia and Indiana with strict photo ID laws — the latter two states passed their laws before 2010. Other states, including Florida, Louisiana, Michigan and South Dakota, have less-stringent statutes that allow election officials to request photo ID but allow residents to vote without it. Virginia, Ohio and Arizona accept non-photo identification. Critics say the laws have disproportionate impact on seniors, voters under 30, the poor, and blacks and Hispanics. A study by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law estimated that as many as 21 million voting-age Americans — 11 percent — lack government-issued photo ID.