PolicyMic nicely sums up recent research on what factors made it likely that a state enacted Voter ID laws in 2011:
According to new research by University of Massachusetts Boston sociologist Keith Bentele and political scientist Erin O’Brien, the states that have enacted tougher voter ID laws in the past few years are also the same states where both minority and lower-income voter turnout had increased in recent years.
Focusing further analysis on just 2011, when the vast majority of voter ID regulations were passed, the researchers found that states which passed the legislation were highly likely to have:
- Republicans in control of both houses of the state legislature and the governorship
- Strong probabilities of being swing states in the 2012 elections
- Minority turnout which was higher in the 2008 election and with high proportions of African-American voters
- Larger numbers of allegations of fraud in 2004, though these had a “much smaller substantive impact relative to partisan and racial factors”
The authors note that the study’s results carry ominous implications and demonstrate voter ID laws have “an uncomfortable relationship to the political activism of blacks and the poor.” Their paper further situates voter ID within a realm of policies that “collectively reduce electoral access among the socially marginalized.”