Access Versus Integrity in Voter Identification Requirements
Working Paper No.:  58
Date Published:  2007-01-31


Stephen Ansolabehere, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


The Help America Vote Act hit a nearly fatal snag during the final stages of congressional negotiations over the bill in 2002. The problem? Voter identification requirements. Many conservatives in Congress insisted on the inclusion of a requirement that voters show photo identification, and many liberals, especially the Congressional Black Caucus, saw this as a deal killer. Ultimately, the two sides reached a compromise that applied the rule to first time voters, but the battlelines over this question were drawn and they remain in place today.


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