This article analyzes voter identification laws in the United States and their effects on voter turnout. Theoretically, there are plausible reasons to hypothesize turnout lowering effects, though there are also reasons to hypothesize those effects might be minimal. Methodologically, there are research design hurdles to clear in order to produce effect estimates that may be attributed to voter identification laws. Empirically, a small number of studies have employed suitable research designs and generally find modest, if any, turnout effects of voter identification laws. This may indicate that voter identification laws have only minor effects on turnout, or it may be due to the fact that the type of voter identification law that may have the most significant effects—a strict photo identification law—is a relatively recent phenomenon. Future elections and the related additional data may make it possible to adjudicate among these possibilities.


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