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June 5, 2014 9:11 AM Subscribe
Study finds strong evidence for discriminatory intent behind voter ID laws
posted by MisantropicPainforest (53 comments total)
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State legislators who support voter ID laws are motivated in no small part by racial bias, according to a new study from the University of Southern California. The study finds strong evidence that "discriminatory intent underlies legislative support for voter identification laws."
Is bias in responsiveness to constituents conditional on the policy preferences of elected officials? The scholarly conventional wisdom is that constituency groups who do not receive policy representation still obtain some level of responsiveness by legislators outside of the policy realm. In contrast, we present a theory of preference-induced responsiveness bias where constituency responsiveness by legislators is associated with legislator policy preferences. Elected officials who favor laws harming minority groups are also less likely to engage in non-policy responsiveness to minority groups. To test this proposition, we conducted a field experiment in 28 U.S. legislative chambers. Legislators were randomly assigned to receive messages from Latino, Anglo, English-speaking, and Spanish-speaking constituents asking if a driver’s license is required for voting. If legislators supported voter identification, Latino constituents were less likely than Anglo constituents to receive communications from legislators. The implication is that discriminatory intent underlies legislative support for voter identification laws.
Bonus: Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Voter ID Laws