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PolitiFact Grades Kampf's Voter ID Claim 'Mostly True'

The state Rep. suggested that voter turnout went up in Georgia after the state passed a voter ID law similar to Pennsylvania's.

Though it initially raised eyebrows, PolitiFact said this week that state Rep. Warren Kampf’s (R-157) suggestion that stricter voter ID laws might actually increase turnout at the polls is “mostly true.” The watchdog group’s verdict was heavily qualified, however.

, at the conclusion of a July 30 townhall meeting at Phoenixville Area High School, the first-term representative said the following in response to a question about the likely consequences of :

Georgia has a very similar law. They’ve had it for six years. And they had it in 2008 and in those communities which often are said to have been impacted by voter ID laws, the turnout was actually far greater than it should have been demographically.

The counterintuitive implication—that a law that restricts voting might actually boost turnout at the polls—got the article picked up by the Huffington Post and several other national outlets. When the story entered PolitiFact’s radar, the site’s Georgia iteration set out to investigate Kampf’s core claim: that voter turnout was higher among some historically disadvantaged groups during Georgia’s 2008 election cycle.

After talking to a representative from Kampf’s office, who backed up his candidate’s assertion by saying that the percentage of black Georgians who voted in 2008 was higher than in previous years, the fact-checking site decided to focus on black voters.

Georgia’s voter ID law—one that’s very similar to Pennsylvania’s—went into effect in 2006. The PolitiFact-checkers found that in 2004, 76 percent of black women and 66 percent of black men who registered to vote in Georgia cast ballots in that year’s presidential election while four years later an estimated 80 percent of black women and 70 percent of black men did the same. Likewise, in 2004, the site found that black voters made up 25 percent of Georgia’s electorate, while that figure ballooned to 30 percent by 2008.

Score one for Kampf.

However, PolitiFact did go on to quote a political science professor in the state who suggested that the group that is disenfranchised by voter ID laws isn't black voters, but poor black voters. PolitiFact could not find any data for that demographic.

Furthermore, the site pointed out that 2008 was special case: namely, it provided black voters the opportunity to vote for the nation’s first black president. All the political scientists the site surveyed acknowledged that this was an enormous driver of black turnout at the polls that year.

And though the site graded Kampf’s interpretation of Georgia’s 2008 election results as “mostly true,” it made no attempt to address his suggestion that Georgia’s election results have something to tell us about what will happen in Pennsylvania if its voter ID law continues to survive legal challenges. You can't, it turns out, fact check the future.

Bob Tigro August 20, 2012 at 04:56 PM
74% of the Electorate wanted this law passed. This is not a Republican or a Democratic issue.
David Curran August 20, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Bob, your facts are wrong. 74% of people think you should show ID, not approve PAs current law. FYI when you first vote (in PA) you must show ID, in subsequent elections your signature is proof of identity. This procedure evidently works for this type of voter impersonation is non-existent.
. August 20, 2012 at 06:24 PM
For the record, there is no way 74% of the electorate was every polled regarding ANYTHING. Maybe what Bob meant to say is 74% or those polled.....Maybe if he provided a link to his sources we could see for ourselves. In any event, this is CLEARLY a Republican attempt to supress Democratic voter turn out. Even House Majority Leader Mike Turzai admits as much. He mentioned the law as a great accomplishment made by the GOP-run legislature during the last Republican State Committee meeting" “Pro-Second Amendment? The Castle Doctrine, it’s done. First pro-life legislation – abortion facility regulations – in 22 years, done. Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.” That quote really says it all regarding Republicans view on citizen rights. In their mind, only Republicans deserve rights....
Pat Campbell August 20, 2012 at 06:54 PM
So angry. Every comment made has a political intent. Didn't we all grow up knowing about voter fraud in Texas and Chicago? Dead people voting -- not illegal aliens. ACORN registered thousands that auditors could not document. Whether you agree with the purpose of the law, do we really need to argue that people should have an ID? And if voter fraud is real, wouldn't it go undetected? Isn't that the goal of fraud?
. August 20, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Pat, please provide some specific examples of people showing up at the polls to vote illegally as that is the ONLY form of fraud this law would prevent. If it is as bad as you claim, I'm sure you can find 1000s of cases. We'll be waiting.....

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