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Voter ID law would knock out 1 out of 10 voters in Illinois

2 years, 6 months ago by Jayette Bolinski, Illinois Watchdog

The research notes the percentage is higher for senior citizens, minorities, people with disabilities, low-income voters and students

By Jayette Bolinski | Illinois Watchdog

SPRINGFIELD — If Illinois had a voter ID law, 685,000 residents — or almost one out of every 10 voters — could not cast a ballot.

That’s according to the results of a statewide poll released this week by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.

“This is a delicate issue,” David Yepsen, director of the nonpartisan institute, said in a statement. “We all want clean elections, yet no one should inadvertently disenfranchise voters either. This poll shows Illinois policy makers need to tread carefully if they want to pursue voter ID laws.”

The poll results are in line with other research that shows about 11 percent of voters nationwide lack a government-issued photo ID, according to figures compiled by the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law.

The research notes that the percentage is higher for senior citizens, minorities, people with disabilities, low-income voters and students, mainly because they lack access to their birth certificates, which are required to obtain the photo IDs and can be expensive or difficult to track down.

Backers of voter ID laws, meanwhile, say they are needed to curb voter fraud.

The Simon Institute poll was released a day after a Commonwealth Court judge ruled that a voter ID law in the swing state of Pennsylvania would not be implemented for the November election. The law would have required voters to produce a photo ID at the polls.

The poll surveyed 1,261 registered voters between Sept. 4 and 10. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.77 percentage points.

Illinois has about 7.3 million registered voters.

Yepsen said he does not expect a voter ID law to go anywhere in Illinois anytime soon because a Democrats, who traditionally opposed this law, control the Governor’s Office and both houses of the Legislature.

In addition to Pennsylvania, Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin passed voter ID laws in 2011 or 2012. More than 30 states have passed voter ID laws, according to the bipartisan nonprofit National Conference of State


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