The Washington Post

Poll: concerns about voter fraud spur broad support for Voter ID laws

Almost three-quarters of all Americans support the idea that people should have to show photo identification to vote, even though they are nearly as concerned about voter suppression as they are about fraud in presidential elections, according to a new Washington Post poll.

A controversy over voter ID laws is a prominent backdrop to this year’s election, with courtroom showdowns in Pennsylvania, Texas and elsewhere over voting rights and otherwise mundane election procedures.

Overall, there is high, strong and cross-party support for such laws, even though a slim majority of Americans say they have heard “not much” or “nothing” about the issue. Support dips among those who say they have heard more about new photo identification requirements but remains the majority position.

About half of those polled see voter fraud — people voting who are not eligible to do so or voters casting multiple ballots — as a “major problem” in presidential elections. One in three see it as a “minor problem.” The numbers are nearly as high when it comes to concern about eligible voters being denied their rights.

Asked to trade off the two, slightly more Americans are concerned with fraud than with voter suppression, although stark partisan and racial differences emerge. Two-thirds of Republicans see voter fraud as a bigger problem; nearly as many Democrats are primarily concerned with denying eligible voters access to the ballot box.

In the poll, African Americans are the most likely to see voter suppression as a major problem and the most likely to see support for the laws as an effort to boost one party over the other. Nearly six in 10 African Americans sense that support for the laws stems from partisan politics.

While 44 percent of Americans perceive partisan politics at play in the support of such laws, far more, 57 percent, see a genuine interest in fair elections as a big motivator.

A challenge for opponents of the ID laws is that a slim majority of Americans see politics behind the opposition, with fewer sensing it is motivated by a real interest in clean vote counts.

Moreover, big majorities of those whom critics see as bearing the brunt of the laws are supportive of them, including about three-quarters of seniors and those with household incomes under $50,000 and two-thirds of non-whites.

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The South Carolina GOP primary and the Nevada Democratic caucuses are next on Feb. 20. Get caught up on the race.
Past South Carolina GOP primary winners
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the first state in the South to vote, where he faces rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
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Quoted
We'll have half a million voters in South Carolina. I can shake a lot of hands, but I can't shake that many.
Sen. Marco Rubio, speaking to a group of reporters about his strategy to regain support after a poor performance in the last debate
Fact Checker
Sanders’s claim that Clinton objected to meeting with ‘our enemies’
Sanders said that Clinton was critical of Obama in 2008 for suggesting meeting with Iran. In fact, Clinton and Obama differed over whether to set preconditions, not about meeting with enemies. Once in office, Obama followed the course suggested by Clinton, abandoning an earlier position as unrealistic.
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The complicated upcoming voting schedule
Feb. 20

Democrats caucus in Nevada; Republicans hold a primary in South Carolina.

Feb. 23

Republicans caucus in Nevada.

Feb. 27

Democrats hold a primary in South Carolina.

Upcoming debates
Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

March 3: GOP debate

on Fox News, in Detroit, Mich.

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