New survey data indicate that the majority of Americans are in favor of both voter ID laws and early voting. Voting regulations has become a divisive issue in the 2016 presidential election.
On August 22, a new poll conducted by Gallup found that 80 percent of respondents were in favor of requiring photo identification in order to vote while only 19 percent were opposed.
Meanwhile, 80 percent were also in favor of early voting, which affords all voters the ability to cast a ballot before an election day, while only 18 percent were opposed.
On the issue of automatic voter registration, 63 percent of respondents were in favor while 34 percent were opposed.
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Breaking down the data, Gallup found that Republican respondents overwhelmingly favored photo ID requirements, were largely in favor of early voting, and were evenly split on automatic voter registration. Independents shared similar priorities.
Meanwhile, Democratic respondents were the most in favor of early voting and automatic registration while a slight majority were also in favor of photo ID requirements.
Breaking down the survey results by race, Gallup found that 81 percent of whites were in favor of both early voting and photo ID requirements, while only 59 percent were in favor of automatic voter registration.
In comparison, 77 percent of nonwhites were in favor of early voting and photo ID requirements, while 71 percent also favored automatic voter registration.
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The results became more clearly partisan when poll respondents were asked whether voter fraud or voter suppression was a bigger concern.
Among Republican respondents, 52 percent were more worried about voter fraud, while 22 percent were more concerned about voter suppression. In comparison, only 26 percent of Democrats were worried about ineligible people casting a vote, while 40 percent worried about voter suppression.
Voting laws have become a controversial issue during the 2016 election season. Photo ID laws have been particularly divisive, gaining national attention after the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the state of North Carolina’s voter identification law, deeming the restrictions to be racially motivated, The Philadelphia Tribune reports.
“We cannot ignore the record evidence that, because of race, the legislature enacted one of the largest restrictions of the franchise in modern North Carolina history,” the district court wrote.
Republican lawmakers have countered that photo ID laws are the best way to root out voter fraud.
An investigation conducted by News21 into cases of voter fraud in Arizona, Ohio, Georgia, Texas and Kansas -- states where local lawmakers have passed some of the strictest voting laws in the country -- found only 38 successful prosecutions of the crime in the last four years.
“Voter fraud is not a significant problem in the country,” said Jennifer Clark of the Brennan Center. “As the evidence that has come out in some recent court cases and reports and basically every analysis that has ever been done has concluded: It is not a significant concern.”