|Voter ID Policies Have Negative Minority Impacts (Except For Asians)|
|Nation - Politics|
|TS-Si News Service|
|Tuesday, 13 March 2012 02:00|
Providence, RI, USA. Research findings indicate that voter identification requirements have a substantially negative impact on the voting of all groups, except for Asians.
Particularly strong negative effects are seen for Blacks and Hispanics (voting decreased by 18% and 22%, respectively). Even Whites show dampened turnout associated with voter ID policies, but it has the opposite effect for Asians (boosting turnout by nearly 30%).
John R. Logan, Professor of Sociology at Brown University, and collaborators Jennifer Darrah and Sookhee Oh, are the authors of an article in the journal Social Forces that uses national survey data in federal election years from 1996 through 2004. Their study of voter registration and voting shows that racial/ethnic disparities in socio-economic resources and rootedness in the community do not explain overall group differences in electoral participation.
Sources of Group Differences
This study shows that group differences are not solely a function of the resources and rootedness of group members or a consequence of the high proportion of immigrants among Latinos and Asians.
The authors suggest that attention now needs to be focused on the contexts of participation faced by each group, and how their participation is facilitated or discouraged by their shared conditions in the communities where they live.Not only does the study document an instance in which Asian participation patterns markedly differ from that of other groups, it contradicts the expectation from an assimilation perspective that low levels of Latino participation are partly attributable to the large share of immigrants among Latinos. In fact, net differences show higher average Latino participation than previously reported.
The authors have shown that all else held equal, Blacks register and vote at higher rates than Whites. Among the largely immigrant groups with lower levels of participation, Latinos register and vote at higher rates than Asians.
Unexpectedly, though, they showed that these group differences are conditional on nativity, because among immigrants Latinos participate more than either Whites or Asians and almost as much as Blacks.
The study indicates that, "Although there has been speculation that the high share of immigrants in the voting-eligible Latino and Asian populations could help to explain their lower political participation, the impact of nativity is not uniform across groups and does not account for the differences between groups in participation . . . Race, Hispanic origin and immigration status apparently combine to produce distinctive collective influences on people's understanding of the political system and their engagement in it."
Their results confirm that Latino and White participation were boosted, but only for registration and surprisingly with the opposite effect on voting. Minority political representation (the measure used for co-ethnic public officials in the metropolitan region) is a related factor, with strong positive effects for Blacks along with some evidence that there may be an effect also for Latinos.
Although the direction of causality in this finding is not certain and the Asian results run in the opposite direction, these findings should encourage further efforts to bring measures of group-based organizational activity into analysis of individual political behavior.
State voting rules are especially important because these are amenable to change, so the authors examined a wide range of these policies. There is a consistent effect for voter ID requirements. Some states have recently introduced new identification requirements and others are considering it.
FundingThis research was supported by the Russell Sage Foundation and by the research initiative on Spatial Structures in the Social Sciences at Brown University.
ParticipationA previous version of this article was presented at the 2007 annual meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society (ESS).
CitationThe Impact of Race and Ethnicity, Immigration and Political Context on Participation in American Electoral Politics. John R. Logan, Jennifer Darrah, Sookhee Oh. Social Forces 2012. doi:10.1093/sf/sor024
This study uses national survey data in federal election years from 1996 through 2004 to examine voter registration and voting. It shows that racial/ethnic disparities in socio-economic resources and rootedness in the community do not explain overall group differences in electoral participation. It contradicts the expectation from an assimilation perspective that low levels of Latino participation are partly attributable to the large share of immigrants among Latinos. In fact net differences show higher average Latino participation than previously reported. The study focuses especially on contextual factors that could affect collective responses of group members. Moving beyond past research, significant effects are found for the group's representation among office holders, voting regulations and state policies related to treatment of immigrants.
|Last Updated on Monday, 12 March 2012 23:15|