More To The Story: Politifact NC & Voter ID
Resolute Free Press' most recent video centers on the North Carolina General Assembly passing a bill to add an amendment requiring Voter ID at the polls to state's Constitution.
In order to do this, the proposed amendment has to be presented to the voters of the state on the ballot this November.
The proposed language on the ballot will look like this:
“Constitutional amendment to require voters to provide photo identification before 16 voting."
[ ] For [ ] Against
Opponents cried racism, which we've disproved in our video. Opponents also insisted that having to prove you are who you say you are is a form of voter suppression. In response, proponents have cited photo ID being a step towards more secure elections and refuted claims of 'suppression'.
House Speaker Tim Moore recently told a North Carolina news outlet that existing voter ID laws have actually not impacted voting participation.
“In fact, states that have adopted voter identification laws have seen zero decrease in voter participation. In fact, most have seen an increase in voter participation,” Moore told Spectrum News on June 7th.
This past week, the North Carolina edition of Politifact decided to rate this claim as “mostly false” by focusing on the word “zero.”
“There’s a kernel of truth in Moore’s statement, as studies haven't consistently shown a direct relationship between voter ID laws and voter participation. However, a report from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office found some evidence that participation declines. And experts said studies don't show an increase in participation as a result of voter ID.
Moore’s claim that there has been “zero decrease” in voter participation is a misleading exaggeration. We rate his claim Mostly False.”
Based on Politifact NC's own lengthy and muddled analysis, anyone can argue Moore's claims were mostly true or at worse, half-true.
This is typical of all Politifact rulings, which is to say, splitting hairs in order to issue the rulings they want but that aren't really supported by their own reporting.
First, Politifact NC sets the stage by telling you about the 2013 racist voter ID law that was overturned by the extremely liberal 4th Circuit. Politifact NC leaves out that the federal court below the 4th circuit upheld law in a rather lengthy ruling. Speaker Moore even mentions this in his interview with Spectrum News – which Politifact NC also left out of their analysis of his comments.
Second, Politifact NC deepens the idea voter ID is racist with a section called “Effects of Voter ID.” It is this section that holds a lot of flip-flopping meat by citing study after study from the Liberal Brennan Center to the Conservative Heritage Foundation.
When boiled down, none of these studies can conclude as fact that voter ID has a negative impact on voter participation. Not even the 'most cited study' that Politifact NC used issued by the U.S. Government Accountability (GAO) solidifies that claim.
Here's the direct quote from the U.S. GAO summary, emphasis added:
“Another 10 studies GAO reviewed showed mixed effects of various forms of state voter ID requirements on turnout. All 10 studies examined general elections before 2008, and 1 of the 10 studies also included the 2004 through 2012 general elections. Five of these 10 studies found that ID requirements had no statistically significant effect on turnout; in contrast 4 studies found decreases in turnout and 1 found an increase in turnout that were statistically significant.”
Here's how Politifact NC summarized this information from the U.S. GAO report:
“When comparing the 2008 and 2012 elections, the GAO analysis found that turnout decreases in Kansas and Tennessee “were attributable to changes in those two states’ voter ID requirements.” And of the 10 studies the GAO reviewed, five found that ID requirements had no statistically significant effect on turnout; four found decreases in turnout and one found an increase in turnout.”
Politifact NC lumped together the suggested findings about Tennessee and Kansas, who implemented Voter ID in 2012, with the findings of studies that looked at general elections before 2008.
Voter participation in 2004 nationwide was 60.7% - the highest it had been since 1968. The 2008 election beat that record and saw the highest turnout in the country's history at 62.3%. Participation nationwide in the 2012 election fell below both of 2008 and 2004 to around 58.6%.
It's important to know that Tennessee's and Kansas' voter ID laws only first took effect for the November 2012 elections. If the GAO was assuming voter ID was the main cause, then how do they explain the drop in 2012 nationwide?
There's a lot more in the GAO report as well, such as details about the Tennessee and Kansas studies being 'quasi-experimental':
“GAO conducted a quasi-experimental analysis to compare voter turnout in Kansas and Tennessee to turnout in the four comparison states that did not have changes in their voter ID requirements from the 2008 to 2012 general elections.”
Also that the GAO's results were disputed by the Kansas, Arkansas, and Tennessee:
“In comments on draft report excerpts the Kansas, Tennessee, and Arkansas Secretary of State Offices disagreed with GAO’s criteria for selecting treatment and comparison states and Kansas and Tennessee questioned the reliability of one dataset used to assess turnout.”
And the GAO acknowledged their study probably was unscientific:
“GAO notes that any policy evaluation in a non-experimental setting cannot account for all unobserved factors that could potentially impact the results.”
Maybe key pieces of information like these, which don't fit the desired fact check ruling outcome, are why Politifact NC decided not to directly link to the GAO report?
Perhaps Politifact is counting on the fact that the average person doesn't have the time to go digging through all these reports. Seriously – who has the time to fact check the fact checkers? Not many, which is how outfits like Politifact get away with disguising dishonesty for truth in their 'rulings'.
An interesting tidbit about Politifact NC
This offshoot conveniently began operations just before the 2016 Election cycle and is staffed and maintained by the Liberal biased News and Observer.
Their main focus? Former Governor, Republican Pat McCrory.
For fun, readers should see how Politifact NC characterized McCrory versus how they treat Governor Roy Cooper today.
Politifact Hints McCrory To 'Quit'
For McCrory, they posted a picture of him wavering checkered flag, implying he should give up the race.
The caption reads: “You can wave that checkered flag, Gov. Pat McCrory, PolitiFact North Carolina is headed your way. (AP)”
Introducing the Coop-O-Meter
Pat McCrory was characterized as needing to surrender, while Roy Cooper gets a fun and quirky “Coop-o-meter.”
For the rollout of the “Coop-o-Meter,” PolitiFact NC used a photograph from the News and Observer, of course, of Cooper smiling and waving to the crowd on election night.
The caption reads: “North Carolina finally has a winner in the governor's race, after weeks of uncertainty.”