Dec 25, 2017

Voter ID laws get a new look after high black turnout in Alabama

High African-American voter turnout helped elect Doug Jones to the Senate. Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty

The enthusiastic turnout among African-American voters in Alabama's Senate election is prompting a new look at the impact of voter ID laws, per the New York Times. Opponents say the laws disenfranchise minority voters, but after Doug Jones' victory, researchers are trying to figure out whether the impact is overstated or whether African-American voters in Alabama were so motivated that the laws didn't matter.

The bottom line: The Alabama outcome isn't going to end the debate over voter ID laws, but it may help put the laws in perspective. "There are real, live instances where positions are taken to keep eligible people from showing up at the polls or to make it needlessly harder to vote," Justin Levitt, a former voting rights official in the Obama administration Justice Department, told the Times. "But it's not nationwide, and it's not all the time."

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