Rep. Keith Ellison is citing this Brennan Center for Justice article while lamenting how voter ID laws have hurt turnout. Here’s one of the statistics cited in the Brennan Center for Justice report:
We know from the Kansas secretary of state that more than 24,000 Kansans tried to register this year but their registrations were held in “suspense” because they failed to present the documentary proof of citizenship now required by state law. And while we do not yet have the data regarding the impact of the voter ID requirement this year, a recent study by the independent Government Accountability Office found that Kansas’s voter ID law reduced turnout by approximately 2 percent in 2012. (GAO also found that Tennessee’s new law reduced turnout by up to 3 percent.)
Rep. Ellison’s newsletter praised Minnesota’s voting laws:
But we bucked the trend: while voter turnout in Minnesota fell, it was still well above the national average.
The Brennan report cited a study the GAO that said voter ID “requirements” had caused turnout to drop in Kansas by 2% and Tennessee’s turnout to drop 3%. Rep. Ellison insists that that’s a disgrace, that it’s proof that voter ID laws suppress the vote. What’s interesting is that Minnesota “bucked the trend” by finishing “well above the national average.” Minnesota has some of the most liberal election laws in the nation. The next logical question to ask is how Minnesota did in 2014 compared with how they did in 2010.
Minnesota’s turnout was 7% lower in 2014 than it was in 2010. That’s 350% worse than Kansas and 233% higher than Tennessee in the same period.
It’s impossible for Rep. Ellison to attribute Minnesota’s drop in voter participation to strict voter ID laws because Minnesota doesn’t have a voter ID law. Furthermore, Minnesota has implemented all the laws that progressives have on their wish list. It’s impossible to believe that Minnesota Democrats would admit that other things factored into the drop-off in voter participation.
There’s as little proof that voter ID laws caused a drop in voter participation in Kansas and Tennessee as there is proof that liberal policies caused Minnesota’s voter participation to drop this year.
Minnesota is a model for expanding voting rights, but we must make it easier to vote throughout the country. That’s why I’ve teamed up with Rep. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin to introduce a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to vote. I’ve also introduced bills that would ban voter ID laws and allow voters to register to vote on Election Day nationwide.
Rep. Ellison isn’t too honest with his constituents. It’s impossible to outlaw voter ID laws after the Supreme Court ruled them constitutional. This should be seen for what it is: an attempt to start ginning up turnout for 2016.