New Study Finds Certain Voters Least Likely to Have Valid Voter ID At Issue Before Supreme Court

November 13, 2007

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, November 13th

Contact: Jonathan Rosen or Tim Bradley, BerlinRosen Public Affairs (646) 452-5637

First Quantitative Look at Impact of Indiana's Voter
ID Law Comes on Day Voting Rights Groups File Amicus Briefs Challenging Law

New York - Citing new
evidence that Indiana's voter identification law is disenfranchising thousands
of Indiana voters, lawyers at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of
Law and a coalition of voting rights organizations filed a friend-of-the-court
brief today urging the U.S. Supreme Court to scuttle the Indiana law.  The brief is one of more than 20 amicus
briefs being filed today by voting rights advocates, current and former
Secretaries of State, law professors, historians, political scientists, student
organizations, labor unions and civic, religious and civil rights organizations.  A full list of amici and a summary of their
briefs is available at www.brennancenter.org/crawford.html.

The Brennan Center's brief comes
as new research, also released today, from the Washington Institute for the Study
of Ethnicity and Race is providing the first direct evidence that Indiana's
voter identification law is disenfranchising thousands of Indiana voters,
especially African-American and low-income voters, as well as senior citizens
and students.

"The state of Indiana has the most
stringent voter identification law in the country.  This study makes clear that their law -
rather than preventing fraud - is actually disenfranchising substantial numbers
of Indiana voters," said Michael Waldman, the Brennan Center's executive director.

The Washington Institute
Study

In October 2007, researchers
fielded a statewide telephone survey of Indiana
registered voters. The sample included a random statewide component and
oversamples of African-American and low-income populations.  The two
oversamples were targeted based on population patterns at the census tract
level. A second sample of non-registered voting age Indiana citizens was
done by random digit dialing.  The study encompassed responses from
interviews with 1,000 registered voters and 500 interviews among non-registered
adults.

The results were clear and
striking.  As the researchers wrote in
their report, "In short we find strong statistical differences with respect to
access to valid photo identification that significantly reduces the opportunity
to vote for minority, low-income, less-educated, and young and old residents of
Indiana."

Among the key findings:

  • 21.8% of black Indiana
    voters do not have access to a valid photo ID (compared to 15.8% of white Indiana voters - a
    6 point gap).
  • When non-registered eligible voter responses are
    included - the gap widens.  28.3% of
    eligible black voters in the State of Indiana
    to not have valid photo ID (compared to 16.8% of eligible voting age white
    Indiana
    residents - a gap of 11.5 percent).
  • The study found what it termed "a curvilinear
    pattern (similar to an upside down U-curve)" in the relationship between
    age and access to valid ID - younger voters and older voters were both
    less likely to have valid ID compared to voters in the middle categories.
     22% of voters 18-34 did not have ID, nor did 19.4% over the age of
    70.  (compared to 16.2% of Indiana
    voters age 35-54 without valid ID and 14.1% for 55-69 year olds).
  • 21% of Indiana
    registered voters with only a high school diploma did not have valid ID
    (compared to 11.5% of Indiana
    voters who have completed college - a gap of 9.5%).
  • Those with valid ID are much more likely to be
    Republicans than those who do not have valid ID. Among registered voters
    with proper ID, 41.6% are Republicans, 32.5% are Democrats.

The Amicus Brief

The Brennan Center, writing
on behalf of itself, political science professor Lorraine Minnite, and three
non-partisan voting rights organizations (Demos, Project Vote, and the People
for the American Way Foundation), called on the Supreme Court to look at the
facts about purported instances of voter-impersonation fraud and the impact
Indiana's voter identification law is having 
on disenfranchising eligible voters.

"Proponents of Indiana's law
claim it's needed to combat an epidemic of voter fraud, but not a single person
in Indiana history has ever been accused of voter impersonation," said Justin
Levitt, counsel at the Brennan Center and author of the new monograph The
Truth About Voter Fraud
.

"Unfortunately, that's
typical.  For too long the debate over
voter fraud and voter identification has been driven by mistruths, half-truths
and outright falsehoods often propagated by people trying to rig the rules of
the game for political advantage," said Renée Paradis, Counsel at the Brennan Center and a co-author of the brief. 

In their friend-of-the-court
brief, the Brennan Center examines the falsehoods used to justify Indiana's law and systematically examines each instance
of purported voter fraud described by the Court of Appeals as justification for
Indiana's
law. 

The brief debunks purported
instances of voter impersonation fraud in Florida,
Illinois, Michigan,
Missouri and Wisconsin
relied on by the Court of Appeals to uphold the law in Indiana
and argues that "there is no more evidence that polling-place impersonation
fraud is a problem outside Indiana than there
is in Indiana."

"For years this has been a
debate long on sensational allegations and short on facts," said Wendy Weiser,
Deputy Director of the Brennan
Center's Democracy
Project and one of the author's of today's brief.  "Well, there are finally facts and they
suggest that the Indiana law has nothing to do with preventing voter fraud and
everything to do with suppressing the vote of minority and low-income voters,
students and seniors, with a substantial partisan skew," said Weiser.

For more information and a
full rundown of all briefs in this case please see www.brennancenter.org/crawford.html.

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