The Pitfalls of Voter Identification Laws in a Post-Crawford World

June 11, 2008

ACS is pleased to distribute an issue brief by Carrie Apfel, Associate at Jenner & Block, entitled "The Pitfalls of Voter Identification Laws in a Post-Crawford World." In this issue brief, Apfel analyzes the Supreme Court's fractured decision in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, which upheld Indiana's voter photo identification law against a facial challenge, and the merits of such laws in the case's aftermath. Apfel notes that the decision does not insulate voter photo identification laws from legal challenge; indeed, "Crawford practically invites voter to attack these laws as they are applied in upcoming elections." Apfel cautions that these laws continue to disenfranchise many people, and disproportionately those who are poor or elderly or have disabilities. Apfel also notes that these restrictions do not address the most common types of electoral fraud nor do they improve voter confidence. Moreover, she asserts there are alternatives that “would prove less burdensome and equally effective at combating potential vote fraud,” as the majority of states without such laws seem to recognize. Apfel concludes, "Voter identification laws are still a solution in search of a problem's restrictions that will not ameliorate the real or perceived issues with our electoral system, but rather will further undermine voting rights and voter confidence."

Read the full Issue Brief here: Apfel_Issue_Brief

By Carrie Apfel