Voting without an ID? Not a big problem in most of Michigan

Editor's note: This story has been edited to reflect action on this legislation that occurred after publication.

The Michigan House last week approved a bill that would make it more difficult to vote without photo identification.

(The Senate dropped the bill this week and Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof said it will not be considered during the balance of the current lame-duck session.)

Proponents say the measure, which requires voters to present identification at the ballot or vote but return within 10 days with proper ID, is necessary to “maintain the integrity” of elections.

Sounds like Michigan has a serious problem, no?

More than 4.87 million people voted Nov. 8 in Michigan. Just over 18,000 showed up at the polls without an ID. They voted after signing an affidavit that they were who they claimed to be. That's one in every 265 voters, or 0.27 percent. If you exclude Wayne County, it's one every 365 voters. In Detroit, however, one in 43 voters, or 2.3 percent of all city voters, showed up without identfication.

Critics say the measure unfairly targets minority voters, who typically have voted for Democrats; the bill has wide support among Republicans. A new study by University of California at San Diego researchers concludes that black voter turnout falls by nearly 13 percentage points in states with strict photo-ID laws and that Democratic turnout drops nearly 8 percentage points compared to a 4.6 point drop for Republican voters.

The Rev. Dr. Wendelll Anthony, president of the Detroit chapter of the NAACP, condemned the bills and called for a Lansing protest on Dec. 13.

Other studies, including one from the U.S. Government Accountability Office have said there is no impact on turnout by race.

By far, the voters most likely not to have ID lived in counties and cities with larger minority populations: 30 percent of all voters statewide without ID voted in Detroit; 39 percent were in Wayne County (which comprises just 17 percent of all active registered voters in the state).

Indeed, in those counties where ID-less voters were greatest tended to support the candidacy of Democrat Hillary Clinton over Republican and now-president-elect Donald Trump.

Click on the counties to see how many voters in each didn't have ID and how that county voted Nov. 8. Below the map is a list of each city and township were statistics were available.


About The Author

Mike Wilkinson

Mike Wilkinson is Bridge’s computer-assisted reporting specialist. He can be reached here.

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Mark
Tue, 12/13/2016 - 7:22am
Whether it's voting, crime, academic testing.....there is one common denominator....Blacks. With the current audit by the state of the Detroit election result irregularities, we need stricter ID laws. Period. These affidavit statistics confirm it. I wish the NAACP would focus more on reversing the statistics where 80% Black Babies for the past 5 decades are born to unwed mothers with the vast majority already living in poverty. We have too much "comfortable poverty" in Detroit.
Rich
Tue, 12/13/2016 - 11:03am
I have to use a fingerprint to use MY cell phone. When I use MY credit card, I more than occasionally have to show a picture ID. When depositing money into MY account at a bank with no cash back, I always have to show a picture ID. So what is so wrong about asking everyone to show picture ID when voting on something that affects OUR future? I just read recently that someone, perhaps Mike Duggan, is setting up a program to make it very easy to get a picture ID. What concerns me more is that when my children registered to vote, they were not asked to show a passport, birth certificate, or anything to prove their citizenship. Voting is precious, and each of us should be very concerned that nothing, absolutely nothing, waters down the power of our individual votes.
Susan
Tue, 12/13/2016 - 8:00pm
I think you have the wrong cell phone, the wrong credit cards, and are using the wrong bank. My cell phone works just fine without a fingerprint. And, if given the opportunity to require one, I would turn it down. I have rarely (can't even recall a time) been asked for ID when using my credit cards. The places where I shop do match my signature on the back of my card with my signature on my authorization. I have NEVER been asked for ID when depositing money (without cash back) into my bank account. I do my mother's banking for her and have never been asked for ID when depositing money into her bank account. I am on a first name basis with my county clerk, with my township clerk, and with many of my election site volunteers. I would be offended to be asked for a photo ID; but I vote absentee, so that takes care of that. I'll bet your children were asked for their Michigan driver's license in order to register to vote. When applying for a driver's license, a Social Security card must be shown (or letter of ineligibility). Also, a birth certificate or passport is required, thus taking care of proof of citizenship.
chester marx
Tue, 12/13/2016 - 11:36am
I've voted for a long time. I go in to my precinct, fill out a form...and give my signature, and agree that I'm a US citizen, and will go to the pokey if I fib. The next clerk goes to a list and checks off my name. Then I fill out my secret ballot, behind a curtain, and go on to the tabulating machine. The tabulating machine has been here for ages and probably is where our efforts should go. Making it harder to vote is a silencing of the electorate. Our leaders in Lansing should be solving problems, not making our lives harder.
Kevin Grand
Tue, 12/13/2016 - 1:10pm
When about 50% of the votes cannot be tabulated due to "irregularities" in places like Detroit, safeguards like voter ID can only improve integrity of the overall voting process.
Fred Stonehouse
Tue, 12/13/2016 - 1:23pm
Voting is our most precious right as American citizens. We should be required to show a picture ID of course.
ArtZ
Tue, 12/13/2016 - 2:20pm
Grinding water and wordsmithing result opinion yup one can make it a problem. Be more interested in just who or whom actually lacked the identity. First timers, homeless and those opposed to voter ID. I am very sceptical any "study"
Dave T
Tue, 12/13/2016 - 2:35pm
I'm sure the states are smart enough to solve this problem without refusing potentially legal voters. The elderly, non drivers, handicapped persons, etc. should have a simple alternative picture ID card. A picture Verification card from the county or state would solve illegal voting anywhere. As a precinct worker, we have voters who vote every year refusing to show a picture ID. They sign an affidavit. These are later checked at city hall and verified. Done.
Fri, 12/16/2016 - 11:34am

Michigan Republicans have a goal to make it harder for Democrats to vote. This one works for them because it targets lower income populations.