Heritage Legal Fellow Testifies Before Congress on Voter ID Laws

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Heritage Legal Fellow Testifies Before Congress on Voter ID Laws

September 24th, 2021

The U.S. Senate’s Subcommittee on the Constitution recently called on Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow in Heritage’s Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, to testify on the Voting Rights Act.  

The Sept. 22 testimony focused on whether legislative reforms to the Voting Acts Right of 1965 are necessary to reduce voter suppression, specifically among minorities. Von Spakovsky stated that legislative reforms to an already more-than-sufficient act are not needed.  

"Efforts to enhance the integrity of the election process through reforms such as voter identification requirements and improvements in the accuracy of statewide voter registration lists are not voter suppression." von Spakovsky stated in his testimony. 

“Americans today have an easier time registering and voting securely than at any time in our nation’s history,” von Spakovsky added. “Voter registration and turnout data, as well as the enforcement record of the U.S. Justice Department, show that there is no widespread, systematic discrimination by state or local election officials to prevent citizens from registering and voting”  


During the hearing, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, asked the panel if “in their judgement, voter ID laws were racist.”  
 
"No, particularly because every single state that has passed an ID law has put in a provision to provide a free ID to anyone who doesn't have one," said von Spakovsky. "The turnout numbers show it has no effect." 


On the issue of whether voter ID laws result in voter suppression, von Spakovsky stated, “A 2019 survey of 10 years of turnout data from all 50 states found that voter ID laws ‘have no negative effect on registration or turnout, overall or for any group defined by race, gender, age or party affiliation.’” 

Von Spakovsky continued by adding that “there have been steady increases in registration and turnout in states that have implemented such reforms. The Justice Department has seen a steady decrease in enforcement actions due to a decreasing number of violations of federal law.” 

Von Spakovsky recently disclosed this evidence in greater detail in a law review article, “The Myth of Voter Suppression and the Enforcement Record of the Obama Administration.”  
 
This article notes that during the eight years of the Obama administration, the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department filed four cases to enforce Section II of the Voters Rights Act. Likewise, the Trump administration filed two Section 2 cases. In addition, the Obama administration filed far fewer cases than the Bush administration, which filed cases, thus providing an additional two-decades worth of evidence to show that there is no voter suppression among minorities specifically.  

Von Spakovsky speaks and writes regularly on voter fraud and voter ID, enforcement of federal voting rights laws, administration of elections and voting equipment standards. For more of his work on these issues,click here.