Young black and Latino voters were asked far more often to demonstrate they were eligible to vote than their white counterparts, even in states without voter identification laws, according to a new study by researchers at Washington University of St. Louis and the University of Chicago.
Politico reported on Tuesday that 72.9 percent of young black voters and 60.8 percent of Latinos reported being asked to provide identification, compared to 50.8 percent of white voters.
The study also found that 17.3 percent of black voters and 8.1 percent of Latino voters did not vote because of ID requirements, while 4.7 percent of white respondents said they posed a problem.
“The effort to protect the vote doesn’t make sense,” said one of the study’s authors, Cathy J. Cohen. “It’s largely discriminatory, impacting we know, young people in particular, young people of color, the poor and the elderly.”
Cohen’s assessment matches the most frequent criticisms against voter identification laws, which became a point of contention during the 2012 elections. Her co-author, Jon Rogowski, told MSNBC the results underscore the importance of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which was targeted in a challenge before the Supreme Court earlier this year.
“Our study shows that, without a doubt, youth of color are discriminated against at the voting booth,” Rogowski said. “It doesn’t matter whether it results from conscious or unconscious bias, the result is that people of color are being disenfranchised and our nation has an obligation to put an end to it.”
[Image by Barack Obama for America via Flickr Creative Commons]