“Voter suppression”? Not so much, research shows

The long-held, but unchallenged, assumption that “voter suppression”  changes the outcome of elections, has now been challenged — and refuted.

The analysis comes from respected Emory University prof Alan Abramowitz, and his work has gotten far less attention than it should. And when it is published, his work is usually under the headline of “voter suppression.”

CNN’s Michael Smerconish gets wake up call from Prof. Alan Abramowitz

From the Left, any attempt to tighten voter security is seen as “suppression,” as if voters always had the “right” to vote a month before Election Day, to vote 24/7, to vote by mail, to dump ballots in drop boxes, and to not have to provide ID.

On the subject of ID, looking at 2016 and 2020 turnout, Abramowitz found an increase of 7% where ID was not required. And where ID was required? An increase of an almost identical 7%. Turnout, he concludes, is a function of voter passion more than anything else.

Measures to tighten the election process usually come from Republicans, and surely there is something political in their motives. And when Democrats fight any attempt at reform, that is also political.

As has been noted before, Democrats claim that Georgia’s new voting laws are “repressive,” despite record turnout and that Delaware’s laws are more restrictive than Georgia’s. That’s true for some other “blue” states, such as New York, Rhode Island and Connecticut. 

Michael Smerconish interviewed the professor on his CNN show, where he said the research was “counter-intuitive.”

Meaning, Smerconish’s assumption was that the new laws negatively affect turnout or result. That belief is on him. The research shows a minor effect on turnout and none in outcome. 

Well, the research affirms my intuition. And I’m glad to see it is supported by science, and that Smerconish was honest enough to air findings contrary to his beliefs. That makes him trustworthy.

The professor said that the expanded access to the polls, while liked by voters, had remarkably little effect on turnout, something I had detailed myself in a piece that reported that with the exception of 2020, turnout has rarely been out of the 50s for the past 90 years, regardless of all the expanded “access” to the polls. 

Far more serious, says Abramowitz, are new rules about who counts and validates the votes, with Trumpsters being appointed or elected to supervisory roles.

Again, I agree with the professor. That is the danger that must be confronted. 

3 thoughts on ““Voter suppression”? Not so much, research shows”

    A discussion with no end. Since the dawn of time, there has always been questionable elections, votings and methods. The problem with the machines has always existed. The problem with judges and other poll watchers has always been an issue. The problem is that human beings are involved and some are honorable, some are low lives and some don’t do their job. What else is new. The politicians – on both sides of the aisle have been well aware of this non issue. It’s too small, but very expensive to fix.
    Sorry to say, mail in voting is here to say. We will probably live long enough to see voting by email.
    I don’t agree with any of the above. If it’s wrong, correct it. If it’s illegal, legally confront the problem. As for mail ins. Things will get better. Nothing is fool-proof. I just received my mail in notice from Chester County. Because I did a mail in once and checked the box to keep me on the list, I’ll receive this notice for every election. The reason that I did a mail in is this. I heard all of the rumors, stories and nonsense. In Chester County, when you do a mailin, you are notified of each step in the process. When you go IN PERSON to vote for the same election, you are not on the ‘eligible list’ but you are on record as to mail in voting.
    Other than that, Smerconish is a nice guy – like you. My wife knows the powerful Smerconish family. I know Stu Bykofsky

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