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Voting Law Changes in 2012

October 2011

Wendy R. Weiser, Lawrence Norden


This report from the Brennan Center for Justice examines the number of people that could potentially be affected by what they call a “wave of legislation” in 2011 tightening restriction on voting laws. All together, they find roughly 5 million voters could have potentially been adversely affected by these measures in the 2012 election. They estimate 3.2 million voters would not have proper ID cards; 240,000 voters would not have proper proof of citizenship; 202,000 may now not be contacted through now-restricted voter drives; 60,000 may not have access to same-day registration; 1-2 million could be disenfranchised through restrictions in early voting; at least 100,000 previous felons would no longer receive the right to vote following the completion of their sentence. Finally, they add that these 5 million voters would disproportionately include young, minority, and poor voters, thus potentially tilting elections in favor of republicans.

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Policy Implications

The conclusions from this report suggest that changes in voting laws has the potential to impact a large group of people. Additionally, the tendency of these laws to impact democratic voters implies that these laws may have real effects on electoral outcomes.

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