Fox’s Shannon Bream cited multiple debunked Republican claims to question whether strict voter ID laws lead to voter suppression, arguing, “it’s all in who you ask.” Bream quoted Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s claim that “voter ID critics turn a blind eye to illegal voting.” In fact, the Brennan Center for Justice has called illegal voting “very rare” and voter impersonation “nearly non-existent,” and a 2014 study found only “31 instances of potential voter fraud between 2000 and 2014,” out of more than 1 billion ballots. Bream also cited Abbott’s assertion that an increase in “minority vote participation” in states with strict voter ID laws proves that they are not “discriminatory and disenfranchising.” The New York Times called Abbott’s statement “misleading,” according to Zoltan Hajnal, the author of a University of California, San Diego study on voter ID laws and minority turnout. Hajnal said, “The relevant question … is how minority turnout in states with photo ID laws compares with that in states without such laws,” continuing that he found “typically that strict voter ID laws double or triple the gap in turnout between whites and nonwhites.” In addition, Bream pointed to Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s claim that Texas tries to make getting IDs “as easy as possible.” In fact, The Washington Post highlighted how obtaining a voter ID can be “burdensome” for some Texas residents, including the “disabled, poor or [those who] don’t drive.” An ex-GOP staffer recently detailed how the aim of some voter ID laws has been to “impede peoples’ voting rights.” From the May 3 edition of Fox News’ The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson:
GRETCHEN CARLSON (HOST): Voter ID laws across the nation could end up having a major impact on the election come November. In Texas, a controversial law requires certain forms of ID to vote, but it also calls for providing the necessary ID free of charge. Shannon Bream, live for us in Washington. So Shannon, what's the latest in the legal fight over this Texas law?
SHANNON BREAM: Well, Gretchen, it is just one of many state voter ID laws now being challenged in court, and last week it reached the U.S. Supreme Court. Opponents filed an emergency request trying to block the law, but, for now, the justices declined, leaving the law in place. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton says the state does require specific ID, but tries to make getting it as easy as possible.
KEN PAXTON: If you don't have a driver's license or military ID, you can get a free ID from the state of Texas, which allows you to go in and vote just like anybody that has a driver's license or other identified form of photo ID. So that argument doesn't really hold water, because we’ve offered up free IDs to people that don't have those IDs, and all they have to do is go get one.
BREAM: This year, more than a dozen states will have either new or newly beefed up voter ID laws for the first time going into a presidential election, Gretchen.
CARLSON: OK, so what do we know about how voter ID laws impact the specific parties?
BREAM: Well, critics claim the laws are meant to suppress minority voters. They say that hurts Democrats. And they point to studies like one from the University of California San Diego, which concluded, “The analysis shows that strict identification laws have a differentially negative impact on the turnout of Hispanics, Blacks, Asian-Americans, and multi-racial Americans in primaries and general elections. We also find that voter ID laws skew democracy toward those on the political right.” Well Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who defended his state’s tough law back when he was the attorney general, says this: “Voter ID critics turn a blind eye to illegal voting, and instead rail against voter ID as discriminatory and disenfranchising. The facts prove otherwise. States with voter ID laws have seen minority vote participation increase, not decrease.” So Gretchen, it's all in who you ask.
CARLSON: Yes, it is. Like so many other issues.