Voting Rights Institute

The Real Cost of Voter Id Laws

An Unnecessary, Expensive, and Intrusive Voter Restriction in a Time of Fiscal Crisis

Across the country, Republican governors and legislators are pushing unnecessary and suppressive photo identification laws that would require all voters to produce a specific current government-issued photo ID before casting a ballot. Read the DNC Voting Rights Institute report on these proposals here:

The suppressive effects of these bills are well-documented: 11 percent of Americans—approximately 23 million citizens of voting age—lack proper photo ID and, as a result, could be turned away from the polls on Election Day. Those without photo ID are disproportionately low-income, disabled, minority, young, and older voters. Numerous non-partisan organizations have debunked claims of widespread voter fraud, the purported basis for these laws.

The Voting Rights Institute has studied the impact of photo ID laws using the actual costs incurred in Indiana and Georgia—the two states that have implemented photo ID laws—and considered the cost estimates from 17 states where photo ID laws were introduced this year.

In 2011, Republicans have advanced photo ID legislation in at least 35 states. The report concluded that if these 35 states enact a photo ID law, they collectively will spend at least $276 million, and possibly as much as $828 million, in the first four years alone. At a time when states are experiencing huge budget shortfalls, it would be an enormous waste to spend hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to disenfranchise voters.

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The Real Cost of Voter ID Laws