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Balancing Fraud Prevention and Electoral Participation: Attitudes Toward Voter Identification: Balancing Fraud Prevention and Electoral Participation

Atkeson, Lonna Rae; Alvarez, R. Michael; Hall, Thad E.; Sinclair, J. Andrew

This paper examines public opinion on the effectiveness and consequences of voter identification laws. We focus on the core issue in the Supreme Court's reasoning in the 2008 case that upheld an Indiana photo-ID law, Crawford v. Marion County Election Board. We use a unique survey from New Mexico, where voter identification policies have recently undergone important changes. Questions in the survey examine whether voters think that ID laws protect against fraud and prevent legitimate participation, which point of view voters find more compelling, and whether attitudes towards voter identification are related to voter confidence. Although most voters think that voter ID laws prevent fraud, many voters think that ensuring access to the polls is more important than preventing fraud. Among other variables that explain differences among individuals, partisanship plays an important role.

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