Joe Czarnezki
Press Release

Study to Determine if Voter ID Law Reduced Wisconsin Turnout

Milwaukee County Clerk Czarnezki backs UW-Madison effort to survey those who didn’t vote

By - Nov 14th, 2016 02:56 pm
A sign at Union South at the University of Wisconsin-Madison lets students know they will need additional identification to vote in Wisconsin beyond their regular college ID. University of Wisconsin System campuses are offering free specialized voter ID cards, but students will need to also bring proof of enrollment to the polls. Photo by Coburn Dukehart of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

A sign at Union South at the University of Wisconsin-Madison lets students know they will need additional identification to vote in Wisconsin beyond their regular college ID. University of Wisconsin System campuses are offering free specialized voter ID cards, but students will need to also bring proof of enrollment to the polls. Photo by Coburn Dukehart of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

A comprehensive UW-Madison study is underway to determine if Wisconsin’s new voter ID law played a role in the lowest statewide turnout for a presidential election in over two decades.

The study will review the impact of Wisconsin’s voter ID law, considered by some as among the most restrictive in the nation. It will focus on Dane and Milwaukee counties, which have the highest percentage of minority and low-income voters in the state.

About 66 percent of voting age people in Wisconsin cast ballots on November 8. That turnout was down nearly four percentage points compared to 2012 and was three points behind the predictions from state election officials.

Most counties in Wisconsin saw a decline in turnout, but the drop was particularly dramatic in Milwaukee County, where nearly 50,000 fewer votes were cast this year compared to 2012.  Preliminary exit polling showed that turnout fell off most among young voters and African-Americans.

In Dane County, turnout was up slightly in real numbers, but down roughly 2 percent from four years ago among registered voters.

“Overall there were few problems on election day,” said Milwaukee County Clerk Joe Czarnezki. “However, there were reports of voters who showed up to the polls with the wrong form of photo ID, while others simply did not go to the polls because they feared they did not have proper ID.  This study will move us from anecdotes to facts.”

Kenneth Mayer, a UW-Madison political science professor (608-263-2286/krmayer@wisc.edu), is leading the study. The UW hopes to have an initial report ready by August, 2017.

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3 thoughts on “Study to Determine if Voter ID Law Reduced Wisconsin Turnout”

  1. happyjack27 says:

    The problem is thy the study is focusing on facts.

    There are mountains of evidence showing that facts do not persuade conservatives.

    On this very topic.

    Facts about voter suppression and lack of voter fraud hasn’t swayed conservatives before. What makes you think it will be any different this time?

  2. Joe says:

    It couldn’t possibly be the quality of candidates that kept people at home. No, it must have been that impossible task of having an ID. How in the world do urban residents and college students get by without one? That insurmountable obstacle of getting an ID must be terrible and terrifying. How do they function?

  3. AG says:

    I believe there is indeed a small percentage of the population that did not vote because they were afraid they didn’t have proper ID. However, I blame the liberals for creating undo fear about voter ID laws that kept them home, not the fact they didn’t have them. Getting an ID is free and can be done even if you don’t have all the required documents. I’ve yet to see a valid case of someone who took the proper time, and followed the basic steps, that was unable to get an ID.

    While I believe the state should have done more education, I also think that instead of using all their resources to fight the law, Citizens Action and others could have used those resources for more education.

    Joe, stop asking obvious questions like that. We don’t actually care for helping the poor be more integrated in society and receive more benefits because they have an ID, we only care about their vote!

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