On Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden blamed “hatred” as the motivating force behind voter identification laws in states such as North Carolina, Alabama, and Texas. Biden wants new laws to block “former slave holding states in the south” from discrimination against blacks and other minorities.
Biden, speaking at a reception at the Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., in celebration of African-American History Month, said that, “These guys never go away. Hatred never, never goes away. The zealotry of those who wish to limit the franchise cannot be smothered by reason.”
Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee (I) would take issue with Vice President Biden. Back in 2011, when he signed the state’s new voter ID laws he commented, “Requiring identification at the polling place is a reasonable request to ensure the accuracy and integrity of our elections.” Currently, 34 states have voter ID laws, 20 of which require a photo.
A 2008 University of Missouri study actually demonstrated that those who argue that Voter ID laws would suppress the vote are misguided. The study showed that Voter ID laws had little effect on voter turnout. Moreover, Jeffrey Milyo, professor of economics and public affairs at the University of Missouri and a scholar in the Center for Applied Economics at the University of Kansas, notes that overall voter turnout in Indiana actually increased after the implementation of photo ID.
Milyo found that, “there is no consistent or statistically significant evidence that the photo ID law depressed turnout in counties with greater percentages of minority, poor, or elderly voters.” He continued, “Contrary to conventional wisdom, turnout in Democratic-leaning counties actually increased in the wake of the new photo ID requirements, all else constant.”
Currently, Eric Holder’s Justice Department has sued North Carolina and Texas an order to obstruct state laws that require voters to show photo IDs at the polls. The DOJ is arguing that they discriminate against minorities. Vice President Biden is rooting for the Justice Department to win the lawsuits: “This fight has been too long, this fight has been too hard, to do anything other than win – not on the margins, but flat-out win,” he said.