Western Michigan University Cooley Law School - Thomas M Cooley Law School

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School  - thomas m cooley law school

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School is an American Bar Association accredited law school. Cooley has four campuses. Its main campus is in Lansing, Michigan and its satellite campuses are in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Auburn Hills, Michigan, and Tampa, Florida. First year courses may be taken at Western Michigan University's Kalamazoo campus.

An affiliation between Cooley and Western Michigan University went into effect on August 13, 2014.

According to Cooley's ABA required disclosures, only 27.4% of graduates from the class of 2015 obtained full time, long term, bar passage required employment 9 months after graduation. 23.8% of graduates were unemployed 9 months after graduation. Only 51.86% of graduates managed to pass a state bar exam in 2015, a requirement to practice law.

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School  - thomas m cooley law school

The law school is named in honor of Thomas McIntyre Cooley, who was a prominent 19th-century jurist and Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. Cooley was also a dean of the University of Michigan Law School and visiting faculty at Johns Hopkins University. Thomas E. Brennan, also a former Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, led a group of lawyers and judges in establishing the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 1972.

On July 28, 2014, the ABA and The Higher Learning Commission gave their approval to the affiliation between Cooley and Western Michigan University.

On August 13, 2014, the affiliation became official and included Cooley changing its name from "Thomas M. Cooley Law School" to "Western Michigan University Cooley Law School."

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School  - thomas m cooley law school

Cooley prepares its graduates for entry into the legal profession. While most students work toward a Juris Doctor degree (J.D.), Cooley also offers the Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree as well as joint degrees in Master of Business Administration (J.D./M.B.A.) and Master of Public Administration (J.D./M.P.A.). (The J.D/M.B.A. is offered in partnership with Oakland University; the J.D./M.P.A. is offered in partnership with Western Michigan University.)

Degree types

Cooley awards the following types of degrees:

  • J.D.
  • J.D./M.P.A.
  • J.D./M.B.A.
  • J.D./LL.M.
  • LL.M. - Corporate Law and Finance
  • LL.M. - Homeland and National Security Law
  • LL.M. - Insurance Law
  • LL.M. - Intellectual Property
  • LL.M. - Self-Directed
  • LL.M. - Tax
  • LL.M. - U.S. Legal Studies for Foreign Attorneys


J.D. students are able to select from several concentrations (specialized areas of legal study):

  • General Practice
  • Litigation
  • Business Transactions
  • Administrative Law
  • International Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Constitutional Law and Civil Rights
  • Taxation
  • Intellectual Property
  • Canadian Practice
  • Focused Studies

Legal study outside the United States

Cooley operates programs allowing ABA-approved foreign study credit in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. In addition, students are able to study at ABA-approved programs through partner law schools, including U.S. law schools operating programs in: London, England (University of Notre Dame); Oxford, England (Florida State University); Madrid, Spain (College of William and Mary); Montreal and Quebec, Canada (Pennsylvania State University); and Paris, France and Muenster, Germany.

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School  - thomas m cooley law school

Cooley has been accredited by the American Bar Association since 1975 and by The Higher Learning Commission since 2001.

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School  - thomas m cooley law school
Clinical programs

Cooley offers clinical programs at each campus. Students who participate in any of the Michigan clinics are allowed to practice law in Michigan under the Michigan Court Rules by representing clients in court, drafting client documents, and giving legal advice under the supervision of faculty. The Innocence Project is nationally recognized in the United States for helping free persons wrongfully incarcerated by obtaining DNA evidence and providing pro bono legal advocacy to overturn their convictions. Cooley also offers an elder law clinic, Sixty Plus, Inc., which provides free legal services to senior citizens, as well as two Public Defender's clinics, which allow students to work in the Public Defender’s office with indigent clients who are accused of committing a crime. The Access to Justice Clinic provides a general civil practice, focusing on family and consumer law. Free legal help in family law and domestic violence matters is offered at the Family Legal Assistance Project. Evening and weekend students can gain experience in the Estate Planning Clinics or the Public Sector Law Project, which provides civil legal services of a transactional, advisory, legislative or systemic nature to governments.

Cooley offers externships throughout the United States at over 2600 approved externship sites. Student externs work under the supervision of experienced attorneys, with the guidance of full-time faculty.

Cooley is currently the Executive Office of Scribes: The American Society of Legal Writers.

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School  - thomas m cooley law school

Cooley has a library at each of its five campuses. Legal research can be conducted at the libraries through a variety of media, including print, electronic, and multimedia sources. Reference librarians are present at each campus. The libraries have a total of about 60 staff. CoolCat is the online library catalog. The Cooley libraries collectively house roughly 670,000 volumes with an annual growth rate of more than 17,000 volumes. Cooley Law has a reciprocal agreement with both Western Michigan University and Oakland University allowing access to the materials in each institution's collections.

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School  - thomas m cooley law school

Cooley's Latin motto, In corde hominum est anima legis, was written in the 1970s by its founder, former Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas E. Brennan. Dean Brennan had originally described the meaning as "the spirit of the law is in the heart of man"; when a female organization called the Cooley Action Team argued that the motto should also refer to "the hearts of women", Justice Brennan agreed and changed it to "The spirit of the law is in the human heart".

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School  - thomas m cooley law school

The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at Cooley for the 2013-2014 academic year is $63,772. Law School Transparency estimated the debt-financed cost of attendance for three years to be $258,232.

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School  - thomas m cooley law school
Bar passage

Cooley graduates have struggled to pass state bar exams, a requirement to practice law. In recent years, the average school bar passage rate has been about 50%. The average school bar passage rate was 51.86% in 2015, 52.73% in 2014, and 51.45% in 2013. Cooley's bar passage rates have averaged about 20% less than the state average pass rates.

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School  - thomas m cooley law school
Ranking and reputation

In 2006, Cooley received the E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award from the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Professionalism for the law school's "Creating a Culture of Professionalism in Law School" program.

The 2007 publication "Best Colleges for African Americans" listed Cooley as the third best law school for African Americans behind Texas Southern School of Law and Howard University and just ahead of Georgetown University and Harvard.

During the 2015-2016 application cycle, Cooley admitted 85.8% of applicants. The entering fall 2016 class had a median GPA of 2.90 and median LSAT of 141 (15th percentile of test takers). The 25th percentile GPA of enrolled students was 2.60 and the 25th percentile LSAT of enrolled students was 138 (9th percentile of test takers). Law professor David Frakt described Cooley's 2015 entering class as "statistically the worst entering class of law students in the history of American legal education at an ABA-Accredited law school."

In 2012, Cooley was noted, by a plaintiff's attorney in a civil lawsuit regarding false advertising, for having "the loosest admissions standards of any accredited or provisionally accredited American law school... the employment prospects of its graduates are grim, even compared to the generally dire state of the legal job market." In 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld the district court's dismissal of the plaintiff's lawsuit because although the graduates’ complaint showed that the statistics on which they relied was objectively untrue, their reliance on the statistics was unreasonable. Judge Quist noted that "it would be unreasonable for Plaintiffs to rely on two bare-bones statistics in deciding to attend a bottom-tier law school with the lowest admission standards in the country."

According to Law School Transparency, Cooley is considered one of the most at-risk law schools for exploiting students for tuition.

Post-graduation employment

According to data provided by Thomas M. Cooley Law School to the American Bar Association (ABA), Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, for purposes of adhering to accreditation standards set forth by the ABA, 23.8% of graduates from the class of 2015 were unemployed 9 months after graduation. Only 27.4% of graduates obtained full time, long term, bar passage required employment. 5% of graduates worked in non-professional jobs. 10.1% of graduates worked in part time jobs.

Only 311 out of 1079 (28.8%) 2012 graduates obtained full-time, long term positions requiring bar admission (i.e., jobs as lawyers), 9 months after graduation. According to Cooley's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 22.9% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation. Cooley's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 46%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2013 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.

Additionally, 215 of the 311 (69.1%) were employed in firms consisting of one to ten lawyers, 44 were employed as solo practitioners, and 171 were employed in firms of two to ten lawyers. A total of 13 graduates (1.2%) had found employment in firms of more than 100 lawyers, and two graduates (0.2%) had secured federal judicial clerkships.

Branch campuses and ABA accreditation

In 2002, when Cooley was expanding, Cooley filed a lawsuit against the American Bar Association for delaying the accreditation of its satellite campuses in Grand Rapids and Auburn Hills. Cooley was working to gain ABA accreditation since the satellite schools opened in June 2002, but had faced delays caused by disagreements on standards, resolved by a settlement of Cooley's lawsuit with the ABA, resulting in the ABA's acquiescence.

In May 2012, Cooley opened a new branch campus in Riverview, Florida, in the Tampa Bay region.

After suffering a 35% decline in enrollment across its five campuses between 2012 and 2013, Cooley announced on July 2, 2014, that it would not be enrolling first year students on its Ann Arbor campus for the Michaelmas term in 2014, but that current and transfer students could continue their studies at that campus. The announcement also called for cuts in faculty and staff. On October 3, after having outlined a transition plan in June, Cooley announced it would permanently cease operations at the Ann Arbor campus on December 31, 2014.

Since the Michaelmas term in 2015, Cooley has offered first year classes at Western Michigan University's Kalamazoo campus.

Ranking and Judging the Law Schools

Cooley is shown as "Rank Not Published" in the U.S. News & World Report listing of law schools. Cooley is ranked second in the twelfth edition of Judging the Law Schools, which is published by Cooley.

Cooley relies heavily on its library statistics in its own Judging the Law School rankings. Specifically, Cooley has 10 library-based statistics in its 2010 rankings, which included separate entries for the total square footage in the library, the seats available in the library, the amount of hours the library is open, the total number of volumes in the library, the total number of titles in the library, the number of librarians, the total hours that staff works in the library, and several other library-based criteria. Cooley has been subject to intense criticism and backlash for assigning equal value of these library-based statistics to far more important factors such as bar passage rate and percentage of graduates employed following graduation.

Defamation lawsuit by Cooley

In July 2011, Cooley filed a defamation lawsuit against the law firm Kurzon Strauss, LLP and four anonymous bloggers after they claimed the school was inflating its post-graduation employment statistics and was under federal investigation for its student loan default rate. The firm retracted the statements, but maintained the school used "'Enron-style' accounting techniques" to manipulate their jobs-placement data. In September 2013, U.S. District Judge Robert J. Jonker dismissed the lawsuit, stating that Cooley was a limited purpose public figure and did not provide adequate evidence the defendants acted with actual malice. The court further noted "the statement that 'Cooley grossly inflates its graduates' reported mean salaries' may not merely be protected hyperbole, but actually substantially true."

Class action against Cooley

In August 2011, a class-action lawsuit by 12 Cooley graduates was filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, alleging fraud and misrepresentation about Cooley's published employment information concerning its graduates. The school responded by filing a motion to dismiss. On July 20, 2012, Judge Gordon Jay Quist granted the motion, concluding: "The bottom line is that the statistics provided by Cooley and other law schools in a format required by the ABA were so vague and incomplete as to be meaningless and could not reasonably be relied upon. But, as put in the phrase we lawyers learn early in law schoolâ€"caveat emptor." The judge further noted that "it [was] unreasonable for Plaintiffs to rely on two bare-bones statistics" in deciding to attend Cooley as it is "widely accepted that American law schools, Cooley included, employ all sorts of legerdemain to boost employment rates in a contracting legal market."

Faculty and staff layoffs

In August 2014, Associate Dean James Robb announced that Cooley had begun laying off faculty and staff at all its campuses. A JD Journal article claims that the layoffs will exceed 50%, but James Robb denied this claim. Cooley had experienced a drop in enrollment of over 40% in recent years and had raised tuition by 9 percent.

Notable faculty

  • Thomas E. Brennan - Founder of Cooley Law School; former Chief Justice Michigan Supreme Court
  • Spencer Abraham â€" former United States Senator and United States Secretary of Energy
  • Robert Holmes Bell â€" District Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan
  • John Warner Fitzgerald â€" former Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court (deceased)
  • Philip J. Prygoski â€" constitutional law expert and author, American Law Institute member
  • John W. Reed - University of Michigan grad; Fellow of the International Society of Barristers
  • James L. Ryan - judge on the United States Court of Appeals of the Sixth Circuit; member of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta; US Navy Reserve, Captain, Retired
  • James Cooper Morton - Lecturer of Evidence and Advanced Evidence
  • Justin Brooks - criminal defense attorney; Lecturer on Criminal Law and Death Penalty Law
  • John N. Scott â€" author of Evidence Illustrated: Cases to Illustrate How All the Rules Work
  • Joseph Kimble â€" author of Lifting the Fog of Legalese: Essays on Plain Language, named by the Burton Awards for Legal Achievement as a drafting consultant for the rewritten Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
  • Stuart Dunnings III - 19 years as the prosecutor for Ingham County, Michigan; First African-American to be elected to such office in Michigan.

Notable alumni

  • John Engler â€" former Governor of Michigan; Chairman of Blackford Capital's Michigan Prosperity Fund
  • Chris Chocola â€" former Representative from Indiana's 2nd congressional district
  • Bart Stupak â€" former Representative from Michigan's 1st congressional district; lobbyist with Venable LLP
  • Michael D. Cohen â€" Executive Vice President of The Trump Organization and co-president of Trump Entertainment
  • Edward Mermelstein â€" New York City attorney and real estate developer; specializes in international clients especially from the former Soviet Union
  • Kamal Nawash - principal in Nawash Law Firm, Washington, DC. Regular commentator on CNN, Fox, BBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, and radio stations.
  • Jon Cooper â€" head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Diane Dietz - University of Michigan All-American in basketball; Big 10 Conference Chief Communication Officer
  • Tedd Nesbit - Pennsylvania Representative for the 8th District; graduate of Florida State University
  • Todd Courser - former Michigan Representative from the 82nd District
  • Anthony H. Gair â€" New York City attorney who represented the family of Amadou Diallo in a case against the New York City Police Department
  • Mark Grisanti â€" Buffalo, New York New York State Senator, 60th District; as of 2015, Acting NY Supreme Court Judge
  • Andrew Farmer - Tennessee Representative for the 17th District
  • Alan Cropsey - Member of Michigan Senate and House of Representatives; Defender of Freedom Award from the NRA
  • Kevin Cotter - Michigan Representative for the 99th District; Speaker of the House 2015-16
  • Chris Hazel â€" Louisiana House of Representative for 27th District since 2008
  • Jane Markey - Judge, Michigan Court of Appeals, Third District
  • Benjamin F. Gibson - federal judge; Chief Judge of US District Court Western District of Michigan; Private in U.S. Army
  • Iqra Khalid â€" Canadian Member of Parliament since 2015; also B.A. from York University, Canada
  • Ruby Sahota - Canadian Member of Parliament; Honours degree from McMaster University, Canada
  • Hiroe Makiyama - House of Councillors of the National Diet of Japan
  • Joseph Lagana â€" New Jersey General Assemblyman; grad Fordham University, NY
  • Charles Macheers â€" Kansas Representative for the 39th district.
  • Ruby Sahota - Canadian Member of Parliament since 2015
  • Nicholas Scutari- New Jersey State Senate; nephew of Donato Scutari, of the Italian Communist Party and Senator of the Italian Republic
  • Rashida Tlaib â€" Michigan Representative from the 6th District; second Arab-American woman elected to a state legislature
  • Paul Hillegonds - former Michigan Representatives for the 88th District; Director of Government Relations for DTE Energy
  • Jeff Kurzon - New York City attorney; graduate of McGill University, Canada and Aix-Marseille University, France
  • Terry Bankert - Politician; former City of Flint Ombudsman and lawyer.
  • Edward Gaffney - Michigan State Representative from Grosse Pointe Farms; Director of the Michigan Center for Truck Safety
  • Jim Howell (politician) - Michigan House of Representatives who represented a portion of Saginaw County; Attorney for Dow Chemical from 1981-1983,


External links

  • Western Michigan University Cooley Law School website

Learn more »

Health Insurance Portability And Accountability Act - Hippa Laws

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act  - hippa laws

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA; Pub.L. 104â€"191, 110 Stat. 1936, enacted August 21, 1996) was enacted by the United States Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996. It has been known as the Kennedyâ€"Kassebaum Act or Kassebaumâ€"Kennedy Act after two of its leading sponsors. Title I of HIPAA protects health insurance coverage for workers and their families when they change or lose their jobs. Title II of HIPAA, known as the Administrative Simplification (AS) provisions, requires the establishment of national standards for electronic health care transactions and national identifiers for provide rs, health insurance plans, and employers.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act  - hippa laws
Title I: Health Care Access, Portability, and Renewability

Title I of HIPAA regulates the availability and breadth of group health plans and certain individual health insurance policies. It amended the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Public Health Service Act, and the Internal Revenue Code.

Title I requires the coverage of and also limits restrictions that a group health plan can place on benefits for preexisting conditions. Group health plans may refuse to provide benefits relating to preexisting conditions for a period of 12 months after enrollment in the plan or 18 months in the case of late enrollment. Title I allows individuals to reduce the exclusion period by the amount of time that they had "creditable coverage" prior to enrolling in the plan and after any "significant breaks" in coverage. "Creditable coverage" is defined quite broadly and includes nearly all group and individual health plans, Medicare, and Medicaid. A "significant break" in coverage is defined as any 63-day period without any creditable coverage. Along with an exception, allowing employers to tie premiums or co-payments to tobacco use, or body mass index.

Title I also requires insurers to issue policies without exclusion to those leaving group health plans with creditable coverage (see above) exceeding 18 months, and renew individual policies for as long as they are offered or provide alternatives to discontinued plans for as long as the insurer stays in the market without exclusion regardless of health condition.

Some health care plans are exempted from Title I requirements, such as long-term health plans and limited-scope plans such as dental or vision plans that are offered separately from the general health plan. However, if such benefits are part of the general health plan, then HIPAA still applies to such benefits. For example, if the new plan offers dental benefits, then it must count creditable continuous coverage under the old health plan towards any of its exclusion periods for dental benefits.

An alternate method of calculating creditable continuous coverage is available to the health plan under Title I. That is, 5 categories of health coverage can be considered separately, including dental and vision coverage. Anything not under those 5 categories must use the general calculation (e.g., the beneficiary may be counted with 18 months of general coverage, but only 6 months of dental coverage, because the beneficiary did not have a general health plan that covered dental until 6 months prior to the application date). Since limited-coverage plans are exempt from HIPAA requirements, the odd case exists in which the applicant to a general group health plan cannot obtain certificates of creditable continuous coverage for independent limited-scope plans such as dental to apply towards exclusion periods of the new plan that does include those coverages.

Hidden exclusion periods are not valid under Title I (e.g., "The accident, to be covered, must have occurred while the beneficiary was covered under this exact same health insurance contract"). Such clauses must not be acted upon by the health plan and also must be re-written so that they comply with HIPAA.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act  - hippa laws
Title II: Preventing Health Care Fraud and Abuse; Administrative Simplification; Medical Liability Reform

Title II of HIPAA defines policies, procedures and guidelines for maintaining the privacy and security of individually identifiable health information as well as outlining numerous offenses relating to health care and sets civil and criminal penalties for violations. It also creates several programs to control fraud and abuse within the health care system. However, the most significant provisions of Title II are its Administrative Simplification rules. Title II requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to draft rules aimed at increasing the efficiency of the health care system by creating standards for the use and dissemination of health care information.

These rules apply to "covered entities" as defined by HIPAA and the HHS. Covered entities include health plans, health care clearinghouses, such as billing services and community health information systems, and health care providers that transmit health care data in a way that is regulated by HIPAA.

Per the requirements of Title II, the HHS has promulgated five rules regarding Administrative Simplification: the Privacy Rule, the Transactions and Code Sets Rule, the Security Rule, the Unique Identifiers Rule, and the Enforcement Rule.

Privacy Rule

The effective compliance date of the Privacy Rule was April 14, 2003, with a one-year extension for certain "small plans". The HIPAA Privacy Rule regulates the use and disclosure of Protected Health Information (PHI) held by "covered entities" (generally, health care clearinghouses, employer sponsored health plans, health insurers, and medical service providers that engage in certain transactions.) By regulation, the Department of Health and Human Services extended the HIPAA privacy rule to independent contractors of covered entities who fit within the definition of "business associates". PHI is any information held by a covered entity which concerns health status, provision of health care, or payment for health care that can be linked to an individual. This is interpreted rather broadly and includes any part of an individual's medical record or payment history. Covered entities must disclose PHI to the individual within 30 days upon request. They also must disclose PHI when requi red to do so by law such as reporting suspected child abuse to state child welfare agencies.

Covered entities may disclose protected health information to law enforcement officials for law enforcement purposes as required by law (including court orders, court-ordered warrants, subpoenas) and administrative requests; or to identify or locate a suspect, fugitive, material witness, or missing person.

A covered entity may disclose PHI (Protected Health Information) to facilitate treatment, payment, or health care operations without a patient's express written authorization. Any other disclosures of PHI (Protected Health Information) require the covered entity to obtain written authorization from the individual for the disclosure. However, when a covered entity discloses any PHI, it must make a reasonable effort to disclose only the minimum necessary information required to achieve its purpose.

The Privacy Rule gives individuals the right to request that a covered entity correct any inaccurate PHI. It also requires covered entities to take reasonable steps to ensure the confidentiality of communications with individuals. For example, an individual can ask to be called at his or her work number instead of home or cell phone numbers.

The Privacy Rule requires covered entities to notify individuals of uses of their PHI. Covered entities must also keep track of disclosures of PHI and document privacy policies and procedures. They must appoint a Privacy Official and a contact person responsible for receiving complaints and train all members of their workforce in procedures regarding PHI.

An individual who believes that the Privacy Rule is not being upheld can file a complaint with the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR). However, according to the Wall Street Journal, the OCR has a long backlog and ignores most complaints. "Complaints of privacy violations have been piling up at the Department of Health and Human Services. Between April of 2003 and November 2006, the agency fielded 23,886 complaints related to medical-privacy rules, but it has not yet taken any enforcement actions against hospitals, doctors, insurers or anyone else for rule violations. A spokesman for the agency says it has closed three-quarters of the complaints, typically because it found no violation or after it provided informal guidance to the parties involved." However, in July 2011, UCLA agreed to pay $865,500 in a settlement regarding potential HIPAA violations. An HHS Office for Civil Rights investigation showed that from 2005 to 2008 unauthorized e mployees repeatedly and without legitimate cause looked at the electronic protected health information of numerous UCLAHS patients.

2013 Final Omnibus Rule Update

In January 2013, HIPAA was updated via the Final Omnibus Rule. Included in changes were updates to the Security Rule and Breach Notification portions of the HITECH Act. The greatest changes relate to the expansion of requirements to include business associates, where only covered entities had originally been held to uphold these sections of the law.

Additionally, the definition of 'significant harm' to an individual in the analysis of a breach was updated to provide more scrutiny to covered entities with the intent of disclosing more breaches which had been previously gone unreported. Previously an organization needed proof that harm had occurred whereas now they must prove the counter, that harm had not occurred.

Protection of PHI was changed from indefinite to 50 years after death. More severe penalties for violation of PHI privacy requirements were also approved.

Disclosure to relatives

According to their interpretations of HIPAA, hospitals will not reveal information over the phone to relatives of admitted patients. This has in some instances impeded the location of missing persons. After the Asiana Airlines Flight 214 San Francisco crash, some hospitals were reluctant to disclose the identities of passengers that they were treating, making it difficult for Asiana and the relatives to locate them. In one instance, a man in Washington state was unable to obtain information about his injured mother.

Janlori Goldman, director of the advocacy group Health Privacy Project, said that some hospitals are being "overcautious" and misapplying the law, the Times reports. Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Md., has interpreted a federal regulation that requires hospitals to allow patients to opt out of being included in the hospital directory as meaning that patients want to be kept out of the directory unless they specifically say otherwise. As a result, if a patient is unconscious or otherwise unable to choose to be included in the directory, relatives and friends might not be able to find them, Goldman said.

Transactions and Code Sets Rule

HIPAA was intended to make the health care system in the United States more efficient by standardizing health care transactions. HIPAA added a new Part C titled "Administrative Simplification" to Title XI of the Social Security Act. This is supposed to simplify health care transactions by requiring all health plans to engage in health care transactions in a standardized way.

The HIPAA/EDI provision was scheduled to take effect from October 16, 2003 with a one-year extension for certain "small plans". However, due to widespread confusion and difficulty in implementing the rule, CMS granted a one-year extension to all parties. On January 1, 2012 newer versions, ASC X12 005010 and NCPDP D.0 become effective, replacing the previous ASC X12 004010 and NCPDP 5.1 mandate. The ASC X12 005010 version provides a mechanism allowing the use of ICD-10-CM as well as other improvements.

After July 1, 2005 most medical providers that file electronically did have to file their electronic claims using the HIPAA standards in order to be paid.

Under HIPAA, HIPAA-covered health plans are now required to use standardized HIPAA electronic transactions. See, 42 USC § 1320d-2 and 45 CFR Part 162. Information about this can be found in the final rule for HIPAA electronic transaction standards (74 Fed. Reg. 3296, published in the Federal Register on January 16, 2009), and on the CMS website here:CMS information on HIPAA standardized electronic transactions

Key EDI(X12) transactions used for HIPAA compliance are:

EDI Health Care Claim Transaction set (837) is used to submit health care claim billing information, encounter information, or both, except for retail pharmacy claims (see EDI Retail Pharmacy Claim Transaction). It can be sent from providers of health care services to payers, either directly or via intermediary billers and claims clearinghouses. It can also be used to transmit health care claims and billing payment information between payers with different payment responsibilities where coordination of benefits is required or between payers and regulatory agencies to monitor the rendering, billing, and/or payment of health care services within a specific health care/insurance industry segment.

For example, a state mental health agency may mandate all healthcare claims, Providers and health plans who trade professional (medical) health care claims electronically must use the 837 Health Care Claim: Professional standard to send in claims. As there are many different business applications for the Health Care claim, there can be slight derivations to cover off claims involving unique claims such as for Institutions, Professionals, Chiropractors, and Dentists etc.

EDI Retail Pharmacy Claim Transaction (NCPDP Telecommunications Standard version 5.1) is used to submit retail pharmacy claims to payers by health care professionals who dispense medications, either directly or via intermediary billers and claims clearinghouses. It can also be used to transmit claims for retail pharmacy services and billing payment information between payers with different payment responsibilities where coordination of benefits is required or between payers and regulatory agencies to monitor the rendering, billing, and/or payment of retail pharmacy services within the pharmacy health care/insurance industry segment.

EDI Health Care Claim Payment/Advice Transaction Set (835) can be used to make a payment, send an Explanation of Benefits (EOB), send an Explanation of Payments (EOP) remittance advice, or make a payment and send an EOP remittance advice only from a health insurer to a health care provider either directly or via a financial institution.

EDI Benefit Enrollment and Maintenance Set (834) can be used by employers, unions, government agencies, associations or insurance agencies to enroll members to a payer. The payer is a healthcare organization that pays claims, administers insurance or benefit or product. Examples of payers include an insurance company, health care professional (HMO), preferred provider organization (PPO), government agency (Medicaid, Medicare etc.) or any organization that may be contracted by one of these former groups.

EDI Payroll Deducted and other group Premium Payment for Insurance Products (820) is a transaction set which can be used to make a premium payment for insurance products. It can be used to order a financial institution to make a payment to a payee.

EDI Health Care Eligibility/Benefit Inquiry (270) is used to inquire about the health care benefits and eligibility associated with a subscriber or dependent.

EDI Health Care Eligibility/Benefit Response (271) is used to respond to a request inquiry about the health care benefits and eligibility associated with a subscriber or dependent.

EDI Health Care Claim Status Request (276) This transaction set can be used by a provider, recipient of health care products or services or their authorized agent to request the status of a health care claim.

EDI Health Care Claim Status Notification (277) This transaction set can be used by a health care payer or authorized agent to notify a provider, recipient or authorized agent regarding the status of a health care claim or encounter, or to request additional information from the provider regarding a health care claim or encounter. This transaction set is not intended to replace the Health Care Claim Payment/Advice Transaction Set (835) and therefore, is not used for account payment posting. The notification is at a summary or service line detail level. The notification may be solicited or unsolicited.

EDI Health Care Service Review Information (278) This transaction set can be used to transmit health care service information, such as subscriber, patient, demographic, diagnosis or treatment data for the purpose of request for review, certification, notification or reporting the outcome of a health care services review.

EDI Functional Acknowledgement Transaction Set (997) this transaction set can be used to define the control structures for a set of acknowledgments to indicate the results of the syntactical analysis of the electronically encoded documents. Although it is not specifically named in the HIPAA Legislation or Final Rule, it is necessary for X12 transaction set processing. The encoded documents are the transaction sets, which are grouped in functional groups, used in defining transactions for business data interchange. This standard does not cover the semantic meaning of the information encoded in the transaction sets.

Brief 5010 Transactions and Code Sets Rules Update Summary

  1. Transaction Set (997) will be replaced by Transaction Set (999) "acknowledgement report".
  2. The size of many fields {segment elements} will be expanded, causing a need for all IT providers to expand corresponding fields, element, files, GUI, paper media and databases.
  3. Some segments have been removed from existing Transaction Sets.
  4. Many segments have been added to existing Transaction Sets allowing greater tracking and reporting of cost and patient encounters.
  5. Capacity to use both "International Classification of Diseases" versions 9 (ICD-9) and 10 (ICD-10-CM) has been added.

Security Rule

The Final Rule on Security Standards was issued on February 20, 2003. It took effect on April 21, 2003 with a compliance date of April 21, 2005 for most covered entities and April 21, 2006 for "small plans". The Security Rule complements the Privacy Rule. While the Privacy Rule pertains to all Protected Health Information (PHI) including paper and electronic, the Security Rule deals specifically with Electronic Protected Health Information (EPHI). It lays out three types of security safeguards required for compliance: administrative, physical, and technical. For each of these types, the Rule identifies various security standards, and for each standard, it names both required and addressable implementation specifications. Required specifications must be adopted and administered as dictated by the Rule. Addressable specifications are more flexible. Individual covered entities can evaluate their own situation and determine the best way to implement addressable specifications. Some pr ivacy advocates have argued that this "flexibility" may provide too much latitude to covered entities. The standards and specifications are as follows:

  • Administrative Safeguards â€" policies and procedures designed to clearly show how the entity will comply with the act
    • Covered entities (entities that must comply with HIPAA requirements) must adopt a written set of privacy procedures and designate a privacy officer to be responsible for developing and implementing all required policies and procedures.
    • The policies and procedures must reference management oversight and organizational buy-in to compliance with the documented security controls.
    • Procedures should clearly identify employees or classes of employees who will have access to electronic protected health information (EPHI). Access to EPHI must be restricted to only those employees who have a need for it to complete their job function.
    • The procedures must address access authorization, establishment, modification, and termination.
    • Entities must show that an appropriate ongoing training program regarding the handling of PHI is provided to employees performing health plan administrative functions.
    • Covered entities that out-source some of their business processes to a third party must ensure that their vendors also have a framework in place to comply with HIPAA requirements. Companies typically gain this assurance through clauses in the contracts stating that the vendor will meet the same data protection requirements that apply to the covered entity. Care must be taken to determine if the vendor further out-sources any data handling functions to other vendors and monitor whether appropriate contracts and controls are in place.
    • A contingency plan should be in place for responding to emergencies. Covered entities are responsible for backing up their data and having disaster recovery procedures in place. The plan should document data priority and failure analysis, testing activities, and change control procedures.
    • Internal audits play a key role in HIPAA compliance by reviewing operations with the goal of identifying potential security violations. Policies and procedures should specifically document the scope, frequency, and procedures of audits. Audits should be both routine and event-based.
    • Procedures should document instructions for addressing and responding to security breaches that are identified either during the audit or the normal course of operations.
  • Physical Safeguards â€" controlling physical access to protect against inappropriate access to protected data
    • Controls must govern the introduction and removal of hardware and software from the network. (When equipment is retired it must be disposed of properly to ensure that PHI is not compromised.)
    • Access to equipment containing health information should be carefully controlled and monitored.
    • Access to hardware and software must be limited to properly authorized individuals.
    • Required access controls consist of facility security plans, maintenance records, and visitor sign-in and escorts.
    • Policies are required to address proper workstation use. Workstations should be removed from high traffic areas and monitor screens should not be in direct view of the public.
    • If the covered entities utilize contractors or agents, they too must be fully trained on their physical access responsibilities.
  • Technical Safeguards â€" controlling access to computer systems and enabling covered entities to protect communications containing PHI transmitted electronically over open networks from being intercepted by anyone other than the intended recipient.
    • Information systems housing PHI must be protected from intrusion. When information flows over open networks, some form of encryption must be utilized. If closed systems/networks are utilized, existing access controls are considered sufficient and encryption is optional.
    • Each covered entity is responsible for ensuring that the data within its systems has not been changed or erased in an unauthorized manner.
    • Data corroboration, including the use of check sum, double-keying, message authentication, and digital signature may be used to ensure data integrity.
    • Covered entities must also authenticate entities with which they communicate. Authentication consists of corroborating that an entity is who it claims to be. Examples of corroboration include: password systems, two or three-way handshakes, telephone callback, and token systems.
    • Covered entities must make documentation of their HIPAA practices available to the government to determine compliance.
    • In addition to policies and procedures and access records, information technology documentation should also include a written record of all configuration settings on the components of the network because these components are complex, configurable, and always changing.
    • Documented risk analysis and risk management programs are required. Covered entities must carefully consider the risks of their operations as they implement systems to comply with the act. (The requirement of risk analysis and risk management implies that the act’s security requirements are a minimum standard and places responsibility on covered entities to take all reasonable precautions necessary to prevent PHI from being used for non-health purposes.)

Unique Identifiers Rule (National Provider Identifier)

HIPAA covered entities such as providers completing electronic transactions, healthcare clearing houses, and large health plans, must use only the National Provider Identifier (NPI) to identify covered healthcare providers in standard transactions by May 23, 2007. Small health plans must use only the NPI by May 23, 2008.

Effective from May 2006 (May 2007 for small health plans), all covered entities using electronic communications (e.g., physicians, hospitals, health insurance companies, and so forth) must use a single new NPI. The NPI replaces all other identifiers used by health plans, Medicare, Medicaid, and other government programs. However, the NPI does not replace a provider's DEA number, state license number, or tax identification number. The NPI is 10 digits (may be alphanumeric), with the last digit being a checksum. The NPI cannot contain any embedded intelligence; in other words, the NPI is simply a number that does not itself have any additional meaning. The NPI is unique and national, never re-used, and except for institutions, a provider usually can have only one. An institution may obtain multiple NPIs for different "sub-parts" such as a free-standing cancer center or rehab facility.

Enforcement Rule

On February 16, 2006, HHS issued the Final Rule regarding HIPAA enforcement. It became effective on March 16, 2006. The Enforcement Rule sets civil money penalties for violating HIPAA rules and establishes procedures for investigations and hearings for HIPAA violations. For many years there were few prosecutions for violations.

This may have changed with the fining of $50,000 to the Hospice of North Idaho (HONI) as the first entity to be fined for a potential HIPAA Security Rule breach affecting fewer than 500 people. Rachel Seeger, a spokeswoman for HHS, stated, "HONI did not conduct an accurate and thorough risk analysis to the confidentiality of ePHI as part of its security management process from 2005 through Jan. 17, 2012." This investigation was initiated with the theft from an employees vehicle of an unencrypted laptop containing 441 patient records.

As of March 2013, the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Resources (HHS) has investigated over 19,306 cases that have been resolved by requiring changes in privacy practice or by corrective action. If noncompliance is determined by HHS, entities must apply corrective measures. Complaints have been investigated against many different types of businesses such as national pharmacy chains, major health care centers, insurance groups, hospital chains and other small providers. There were 9,146 cases where the HHS investigation found that HIPAA was followed correctly. There were 44,118 cases that HHS did not find eligible cause for enforcement; for example, a violation that started before HIPAA started; cases withdrawn by the pursuer; or an activity that does not actually violate the Rules. According to the HHS website, the following lists the issues that have been reported according to frequency:

  1. Misuse and disclosures of PHI
  2. No protection in place of health information
  3. Patient unable to access their health information
  4. Using or disclosing more than the minimum necessary protected health information
  5. No safeguards of electronic protected health information.

The most common entities found to be required to take corrective action in order to be in voluntary compliance according to HHS are listed by frequency:

  1. Private Practices
  2. Hospitals
  3. Outpatient Facilities
  4. Group plans such as insurance groups
  5. Pharmacies

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act  - hippa laws
HITECH Act: Privacy Requirements

See the Privacy section of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act).

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act  - hippa laws
Effects on research and clinical care

The enactment of the Privacy and Security Rules has caused major changes in the way physicians and medical centers operate. The complex legalities and potentially stiff penalties associated with HIPAA, as well as the increase in paperwork and the cost of its implementation, were causes for concern among physicians and medical centers. An August 2006 article in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine detailed some such concerns over the implementation and effects of HIPAA.

Effects on research

HIPAA restrictions on researchers have affected their ability to perform retrospective, chart-based research as well as their ability to prospectively evaluate patients by contacting them for follow-up. A study from the University of Michigan demonstrated that implementation of the HIPAA Privacy rule resulted in a drop from 96% to 34% in the proportion of follow-up surveys completed by study patients being followed after a heart attack. Another study, detailing the effects of HIPAA on recruitment for a study on cancer prevention, demonstrated that HIPAA-mandated changes led to a 73% decrease in patient accrual, a tripling of time spent recruiting patients, and a tripling of mean recruitment costs.

In addition, informed consent forms for research studies now are required to include extensive detail on how the participant's protected health information will be kept private. While such information is important, the addition of a lengthy, legalistic section on privacy may make these already complex documents even less user-friendly for patients who are asked to read and sign them.

These data suggest that the HIPAA privacy rule, as currently implemented, may be having negative impacts on the cost and quality of medical research. Dr. Kim Eagle, professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan, was quoted in the Annals article as saying, "Privacy is important, but research is also important for improving care. We hope that we will figure this out and do it right."

Effects on clinical care

The complexity of HIPAA, combined with potentially stiff penalties for violators, can lead physicians and medical centers to withhold information from those who may have a right to it. A review of the implementation of the HIPAA Privacy Rule by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that health care providers were "uncertain about their legal privacy responsibilities and often responded with an overly guarded approach to disclosing information ... than necessary to ensure compliance with the Privacy rule". Reports of this uncertainty continue.

Costs of implementation

In the period immediately prior to the enactment of the HIPAA Privacy and Security Acts, medical centers and medical practices were charged with getting "into compliance". With an early emphasis on the potentially severe penalties associated with violation, many practices and centers turned to private, for-profit "HIPAA consultants" who were intimately familiar with the details of the legislation and offered their services to ensure that physicians and medical centers were fully "in compliance". In addition to the costs of developing and revamping systems and practices, the increase in paperwork and staff time necessary to meet the legal requirements of HIPAA may impact the finances of medical centers and practices at a time when insurance companies and Medicare reimbursement is also declining.

Education and training

Education and training of healthcare providers is paramount to correct implementation of the HIPAA Privacy and Security Acts. Effective training must describe the statutory and regulatory background and purpose of HIPAA and a general summary of the principles and key provisions of the Privacy Rule.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act  - hippa laws
HIPAA and drug and alcohol rehabilitation organizations

Special considerations for confidentiality are needed for health care organizations that offer federally funded drug or alcohol rehabilitation services.

Predating HIPAA by over a quarter century are the Comprehensive Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Act of 1970 and language amended by the Drug Abuse Office and Treatment Act of 1972.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act  - hippa laws
Violations of HIPAA

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights, between April 2003 and January 2013 they received 91,000 complaints of HIPAA violations, in which 22,000 led to enforcement actions of varying kinds (from settlements to fines) and 521 led to referrals to the US Department of Justice as criminal actions. Examples of significant breaches of protected information and other HIPAA violations include:

  • the largest loss of data that affected 4.9 million people by Tricare Management of Virginia in 2011
  • the largest fines of $4.3 million levied against Cignet Health of Maryland in 2010 for ignoring patients' requests to obtain copies of their own records and repeated ignoring of federal officials' inquiries
  • the first criminal indictment was lodged in 2011 against a Virginia physician who shared information with a patient's employer "under the false pretenses that the patient was a serious and imminent threat to the safety of the public, when in fact he knew that the patient was not such a threat."

The differences between civil and criminal penalties are summarized in the following table:

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act  - hippa laws
Title III: Tax-related health provisions governing medical savings accounts

Title III standardizes the amount that may be saved per person in a pre-tax medical savings account. Beginning in 1997, medical savings account ("MSA") are available to employees covered under an employer-sponsored high deductible plan of a small employer and self-employed individuals.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act  - hippa laws
Title IV: Application and enforcement of group health insurance requirements

Title IV specifies conditions for group health plans regarding coverage of persons with pre-existing conditions, and modifies continuation of coverage requirements. It also clarifies continuation coverage requirements and includes COBRA clarification.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act  - hippa laws
Title V: Revenue offset governing tax deductions for employers

Title V includes provisions related to company-owned life insurance for employers providing company-owned life insurance premiums, prohibiting the tax-deduction of interest on life insurance loans, company endowments, or contracts related to the company. It also repeals the financial institution rule to interest allocation rules. Finally, it amends provisions of law relating to people who give up United States citizenship or permanent residence, expanding the expatriation tax to be assessed against those deemed to be giving up their U.S. status for tax reasons, and making ex-citizens' names part of the public record through the creation of the Quarterly Publication of Individuals Who Have Chosen to Expatriate.

Legislative information

  • Pub.L. 104â€"191, 110 Stat. 1936
  • H.R. 3103; H. Rept. 104-469, part 1; H. Rept. 104-736
  • S. 1028; S. 1698; S. Rept. 104-156
  • HHS Security Standards, 45 C.F.R. 160, 162, and 164
  • HHS Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information, 45 C.F.R. 160 and 164


External links

  • California Office of HIPAA Implementation (CalOHI)
  • "HIPAA", Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports regarding HIPAA, University of North Texas Libraries
  • Full text of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (PDF/TXT) U.S. Government Printing Office
  • Full text of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HTM) Legal Archiver
  • Office for Civil Rights page on HIPAA
  • Training for Medical Personnel regarding HIPAA ATI
Learn more »

Voter ID Laws In The United States - Texas Voter Id Law

Voter ID laws in the United States  - texas voter id law

Voter ID laws in the United States are laws that require a person to provide some form of official identification before they are permitted to register to vote, receive a ballot for an election, or to actually vote.

At the federal level, the Help America Vote Act of 2002 requires voter ID for all new voters in federal elections who registered by mail and who did not provide a driver's license number or the last four digits of a Social Security number that was matched against government records. Though state laws requiring some sort of identification at voting polls go back to 1950, no state required a voter to produce a government-issued photo ID as a condition for voting before the 2006 election. Indiana in 2006 became the first state to enact a strict photo ID law, a law that was upheld two years later by the U.S. Supreme Court. As of September 2016, 33 states have enacted some form of voter ID requirement. Lawsuits have been filed against many of the voter ID requirements on the basis that they are discriminatory with an intent to reduce voting by traditionally Democratic constituencies. Parts of voter ID laws in several states have been overturned by courts.

Proponents of voter ID laws argue that they reduce electoral fraud while placing only little burden on voters. Opponents argue that electoral fraud is extremely rare in the United States and has been magnified as an issue to create barriers to voter registration, and that requiring voter ID in effect discriminates against minority groups and those who are less likely to possess photo IDs. Critics have argued that the barriers could result in the disenfranchisement of black, Hispanic and other minority voters.

Research has shown that the type of voter fraud that would be prevented by voter IDs is extremely rare; research is mixed as to whether voter ID laws reduce overall turnout or minority turnout; and research has shown that Republican legislators in swing states and districts with sizable black or Hispanic populations push the hardest for voter ID laws.

One study, commonly cited by President Trump and other Republicans, purported to show that non-citizens vote in large numbers in the United States, but the findings of the study were later shown to be driven by measurement error and has been comprehensively rebutted. The authors of the study have conceded that measurement error "may have biased our numbers", and have also rebuked President Trump for claiming that millions voted illegally in 2016.

Voter ID laws in the United States  - texas voter id law
State-by-state requirements

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) provides a web page and a map with ID requirements for voting in each state. In states with strict ID laws, the voter is required to take additional action after the provisional ballot is cast to verify ID. The NCSL website describes strict states as follows:

In the "strict" states, a voter cannot cast a valid ballot without first presenting ID. Voters who are unable to show ID at the polls are given a provisional ballot. Those provisional ballots are kept separate from the regular ballots. If the voter returns to election officials within a short period of time after the election (generally a few days) and presents acceptable ID, the provisional ballot is counted. If the voter does not come back to show ID, that provisional ballot is never counted.

In states with non-strict voter ID laws, other methods of validation are allowed, which vary by state. Possible alternatives are: signing an affidavit, having a poll worker vouch for voter, having election officials verify a voter's identity after the vote is cast, or having the voter return an inquiry mailed to their reported address.

The NCSL categorizes state-level voter ID laws as follows:

Strict photo ID required: Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Strict non-photo ID required: Arizona and Ohio.
Non-Strict photo ID required: Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Texas.
Non-Strict non-photo ID required: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, and Washington.
No ID required to vote at ballot box: California, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming, and Washington, D.C.

Voter ID laws in the United States  - texas voter id law
Push for photo ID requirements

Since the late 20th century, the Republican Party has led efforts to create more stringent voter ID laws for the stated objective of preventing electoral fraud. 12 states now require voters to show some form of photo identification (see table below) with approximately 13 other states pursuing similar legislation. The laws were often introduced by the Republican members of ALEC and signed by Republican governors.

Some of the states that were pursuing new photo identification requirements were legally bound under the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to apply for federal preclearance prior to enacting any new election laws. (One provision of the Voting Rights Act was that 13 southern states with a history of discrimination be required to obtain this federal preclearance in order to prevent further discriminatory laws from being passed.) However, in the 2013 case Shelby County v. Holder, the United States Supreme Court struck down section 4(b) of the Act, which contained the formula determining which states were required to seek preclearance, based on historic under-representation of portions of the population. They said that this section was unconstitutional as the model was not based on current conditions. It said the provision was rational and needed at the time it was enacted, but it is no longer an accurate formula based on the changing demographics of different states and the nat ion overall. In effect, federal preclearance is no longer a requirement; Congress would need to update this section based on current data for a new formula that is deemed constitutional. States that had passed photo identification requirements but had not received federal preclearance were allowed to have those laws immediately take effect.

Court challenges

The practical effect of striking out section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby's case was that a challenge to electoral law changes in covered states could no longer be determined by a federal administrative or judicial officer, instead having to be litigated in a court of law on a case-by-case basis, a much more costly and time-consuming process.

By the end of July 2016, federal courts ruled on challenges to voter ID laws in Ohio, Texas, North Carolina and Wisconsin. All the cases are likely to be heard ultimately by the US Supreme Court. The court ruled that the legislature's ending of Ohio's "Golden Week" imposed a "modest burden" on the right to vote of African Americans and said that the state's justifications for the law "fail to outweigh that burden." This week had been a period of time when residents could "register to vote and cast an early ballot at the same location."

The Texas law was not overturned, but the state was advised it needed to have alternative processes in place that were not discriminatory before the November 2016 election. A North Carolina law was overturned as "its provisions deliberately 'target African-Americans'... in an effort to depress black turnout at the polls." Parts of Wisconsin's voter ID laws were ruled to be unconstitutional and it was advised to accept more forms of identification for the fall 2016 election cycle.

Voter ID laws in the United States  - texas voter id law

Voter ID laws go back to 1950, when South Carolina became the first state to start requesting identification from voters at the polls. The identification document did not have to include a picture; any document with the name of the voter sufficed. In 1970, Hawaii joined in requiring ID, and Texas a year later. Florida was next in 1977, and Alaska in 1980 to become the first five states in the United States to request identification of some sort from voters at the polls.

In 1999, Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore attempted to start a pilot program that required voters to show IDs at the polls. His initiative was blocked by Democrats and the NAACP, and was stopped by court order. His administration had spent and mailed $275,000 worth of free voter ID cards to residents in Arlington and Fairfax counties.

Afterward Republican-dominated states have worked to pass laws for voter IDs, ostensibly to prevent "voter fraud", which studies have shown is "vanishingly rare." Opponents say that many of the provisions of such laws are a conspiracy designed to disadvantage minorities, poor and elderly, many of whom have tended in recent years to vote Democratic, so the Republicans are deriving political benefits from their voter ID campaign. In 2002, President Bush signed the Help America Vote Act into law, which required all first-time voters in federal elections to show photo or non-photo ID upon either registration or arrival at the polling place.

In 2004, Arizona passed a law requiring voters to bring a state-issued photo ID to the polling place. Similar proposals were discussed in various other states and were passed in some cases. In several states, a person's citizenship status is noted on their photo ID.

Indiana passed a law in 2005 requiring a photo ID be shown by all voters before casting ballots. Civil rights groups in Indiana launched a lawsuit, Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, that reached the Supreme Court in 2008. The Court ruled that the law was constitutional, paving the way for expanded ID laws in other states.

In 2011, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (WI Act 23) and Ohio Governor John Kasich enacted similar laws. Texas Governor Rick Perry placed a voter ID bill as an "emergency item" in 2011, allowing legislators to rush it through the process. Jurisdiction over Texas election procedure had been given to the Department of Justice, which was required to pre-clear the law for approval. The Texas law recognized government-issued photo identification and weapons permits but not college IDs, resulting in criticism that the law was unfavorable to young voters, who trend liberal, while favorable to gun owners, who trend conservative. Rhode Island passed a voter ID law in 2011; it is the only state with a Democratic-controlled legislature to do so.

In South Carolina, Gov. Nikki Haley enacted a 2011 law requiring government-issued IDs at the polls, which included provisions for the issuance of free IDs. Haley made a one-time offer to arrange for voter ID applicants to be driven to issuing locations. The ID requirement was blocked by the Justice Department.

Wisconsin's Voter ID law in 2011 provided free IDs to people who did not have them. But in practice, state employees at the DMV were instructed to provide the IDs for free only if people specifically asked to have their fee waived. The requirement to show photo ID had been declared in violation of the Wisconsin Constitution and blocked by state and federal judges, but those decisions were overturned by the Wisconsin Supreme Court and later the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Weeks later, the U.S. Supreme Court again blocked the law for 2014. On March 23, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal by the ACLU, effectively upholding the 7th Circuit's decision Wisconsin's voter ID law as constitutional.

Pennsylvania's voter ID law allowed various forms of photo identification cards, including those held by drivers, government employees, in-state college students, and residents of elder-care facilities. Voters who do not possess these forms of identification can obtain voting-only photo IDs issued by the Pennsylvania Department of State through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). A judicial order on October 2, 2012 blocked enforcement of Pennsylvania's law until after the 2012 Presidential election. Following a trial in the summer of 2013 and a six-month delay, Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard L. McGinley struck down Pennsylvania's voter ID law on January 17, 2014 as violative of the constitutional rights of state voters.

He noted that required alternative voter IDs were available only through 71 PennDOT Drivers Licensing Centers across the state. Five of the 71 DLCs are located in Philadelphia, nine counties have no DLCs at all, and DLCs have limited hours: in nine counties they are open only one day per week, and in 13 counties they are open only two days per week. The court ruled that the Pennsylvania Department of State provided too little access, no financial support to provide IDs to those without access, and no alternatives to obtaining the required IDs. Judge McGinley found that this leaves about half of Pennsylvania without DLCs for five days a week, imposing a significant barrier to obtaining Pennsylvania's "free ID". Photo IDs are not required to vote in PA.

Voters in Minnesota rejected a voter ID proposal on the 2012 general election ballot by a margin of 54â€"46%. It is the only such ballot defeat for a voter ID law in the country.

Voter ID laws in the United States  - texas voter id law
Shelby v. Holder

On June 25, 2013, the US Supreme Court declared, by a 5â€"4 decision, in Shelby v. Holder that Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was unconstitutional. Previously, states with a history of proven voter discrimination were required to obtain preclearance from a federal court before making changes to their voting laws. "Section 4 of the Act contained the formula for determining which states or political subdivisions were covered by Section 5. The majority opinion argued that the formula used to determine which jurisdictions required federal oversight or preclearance had not been updated to reflect current social conditions, including a decline in institutionalized discrimination and direct voter suppression. Since the Court's decision, several states passed new voter ID laws and other restrictions on registration and on voting.

Voter ID laws in the United States  - texas voter id law
Studies and analysis

A 2005 report by former President Jimmy Carter and Former Secretary of State James Baker concluded that concerns of both those who support and oppose strengthened voter ID laws were legitimate. It recommended voter ID requirements be enacted, to be slowly phased in over a period of five years, and accompanied by the issuance of free ID cards provided by mobile ID vans that would visit traditionally underserved communities. In 2007, a report prepared by the staff of the federal Election Assistance Commission concluded "there is a great deal of debate on the pervasiveness of fraud."

Cost of voter identification cards

According to a Harvard study, "the expenses for documentation, travel, and waiting time [for obtaining voter identification cards] are significantâ€"especially for minority group and low-income votersâ€"typically ranging from about $75 to $175. When legal fees are added to these numbers, the costs range as high as $1,500." So even if the cards themselves may be free, the costs associated with obtaining the card can be expensive. The author of the study notes that the costs associated with obtaining the card far exceeds the $1.50 poll tax outlawed by the 24th amendment in 1964.

Fraud prevention

The vast majority of voter ID laws in the United States target only at voter impersonation, of which there are only 31 documented cases in the United States from the 2000â€"2014 period. According to PolitiFact, "in-person voter fraudâ€"the kind targeted by the ID lawâ€"remains extremely rare". PolitiFact finds the suggestion that "voter fraud is rampant" false, giving it its "Pants on Fire" rating.

Proponents of voter ID laws cite the registration of dead and out-of-state voters as a vulnerability in the electoral system. A 2012 report by the Pew Center showed that more than 1.8 million deceased people remain registered to vote nationwide. The same report found 3 million voters registered in multiple states, presumably due to changes of residency. David Becker, the director of Election Initiatives for Pew, said this study's results pointed to the need to improve voter registration, rather than to evidence of voter fraud or suppression.

Proponents of voter ID laws fear that motivated individuals could exploit registration irregularities to impersonate dead voters or impersonate former state residents, casting multiple fraudulent ballots. Critics of such laws note that they only prevent one kind of fraud, namely voter impersonation. They say that this form of fraud is illogical, as the risks (a fine of up to $10,000 and/or 5 years in prison) far outweigh the benefits (casting one extra vote for the voter's desired candidate). Democrats have alleged that the scale of impersonation fraud has been greatly exaggerated by Republicans for political reasons.

A few instances (relative to the number of voters) of alleged voter fraud have been revealed across the nation. Of the 6,000 dead people registered to vote in Nassau County, NY in 2013, 270 of them had cast ballots at some point since their deaths, though county officials blamed many of the fraudulent votes on clerical errors. Most cases of alleged voter fraud involving dead voters have been shown to be a result of incorrect matching of voter rolls and death records, such as when someone died after they voted rather than before.

In the 1948 Senatorial Election, supporters of Lyndon Johnson conspired to cast 200 illegal votes in two precincts in the town of Alice, Texas. One witness reported that the last 200 people listed as voting in precinct 13 voted in alphabetical order, though voter rolls were lost prior to court examination.

Some instances of voter fraud may, however, be overstated. A 2012 investigation of 207 alleged dead voters in South Carolina found only five instances unexplained by clerical errors. For instance, sometimes a son with the same name as his dead father was accidentally recorded as voting under the father's name. A study of dead voters in the 2006 Georgia midterm election concluded that only fifteen of the 66 alleged instances of dead voting were potentially fraudulent. All but four of the dead votes were cast absentee, and most of the absentee voters in question cast early ballots but died before the election, giving the impression of voter fraud. A 2013 study testing for additional cases of electoral fraud in addition to two cases that had already been documented found no additional cases of such fraud.

A 2007 report by the Brennan Center for Justice concluded that voter impersonation was rarer than being struck by lightning. The author of this report, Justin Levitt, later reported in 2014 that he had identified only thirty-one credible instances of voter impersonation since 2000, involving a total of 241 ballots, out of a billion ballots cast. Also, in 2007, Lorraine Minnite released a report for Project Vote concluding that voter fraud was "extremely rare" in the United States. A 2012 analysis by student investigative journalism project News21 found only ten cases of alleged voter impersonation in the U.S. since 2000. In 2014, a survey was published concluding that there was no evidence of widespread voter impersonation in the 2012 U.S. general election.

Other instances of voter fraud may be understated as state governments often lack the information necessary to compare voting records between states. For example, many states do not collect the last four digits of a voter's SSN, preventing detection of individuals who vote in multiple states or individuals who vote under the names of former state residents. Writing in 2009, Harvard political scientist Stephen Ansolabehere noted that despite the common belief "that fraud occurs at least somewhat often in elections... social scientists have been unable to develop unambiguous measures of the incidence of fraud, and legal cases find very little hard evidence on the matter."

Proponents of voter ID laws have pointed to a 2014 study by Old Dominion University professors Jesse Richman and David Earnest as justification. The study, which used data developed by the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, concluded that more than 14 percent of self-identified non-citizens in 2008 and 2010 indicated that they were registered to vote, approximately 6.4% of surveyed non-citizens voted in 2008, and 2.2% of surveyed non-citizens voted in 2010. However, the study also concluded that voter ID requirements would be ineffective at reducing non-citizen voting. This study has been criticized by numerous academics. A 2015 study by the managers of the Cooperative Congressional Election Study found that Richman and Earnest's study was "almost certainly flawed" and that, in fact, it was most likely that 0% of non-citizens had voted in recent American elections. Richman and Earnest's findings were the result of measurement error; some individuals who answered the survey checked the wrong boxes in surveys. Richman and Earnest therefore extrapolated from a handful of wrongfully classified cases to achieve an exaggerated number of individuals who appeared to be non-citizen voters. Richman later conceded that "the response error issues... may have biased our numbers". Richman has also rebuked President Trump for claiming that millions voted illegally in 2016. Brian Schaffner, Professor of Political Science at University of Massachesetts, Amherst, who was part of the team that debunked Richman and Earnest's study said that the study

...is not only wrong, it is irresponsible social science and should never have been published in the first place. There is no evidence that non-citizens have voted in recent U.S. elections... It is bad research, because it fails to understand basic facts about the data it uses. Indeed, it took me and my colleagues only a few hours to figure out why the authors’ findings were wrong and to produce the evidence needed to prove as much. The authors were essentially basing their claims on two pieces of data associated with the large surveyâ€"a question that asks people whether they are citizens and official vote records to which each respondent has been matched to determine whether he or she had voted. Both these pieces of information include some small amounts of measurement error, as is true of all survey questions. What the authors failed to consider is that measurement error was entirely responsible for their results. In fact, once my colleagues and I accounted for that error, we found that there were essentially zero non-citizens who voted in recent elections..

Support for voter ID laws correlates with perceived prevalence of voter fraud. Although absentee ballot fraud is more common than voter impersonation, only six of the 31 states with voter ID laws also impose similar requirements on people who mail in absentee ballots.

Perception of electoral systems

Lorraine Minnite of Demos has criticized proponents of voter ID laws for shifting their arguments in favor of such laws from voter fraud to electoral integrity. In an expert report prepared for the ACLU, she argued that "Calling the problem “electoral integrity” does not change the fact that the only threat to electoral integrity addressed by photo ID laws is in-person voter fraud," and that because such fraud is extremely rare, voter ID laws are not justified to prevent this problem. But in 2005, American University’s Commission on Federal Election Reform, co-chaired by former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker, wrote:

The electoral system cannot inspire public confidence if no safeguards exist to deter or detect fraud or to confirm the identity of voters. Photo IDs currently are needed to board a plane, enter federal buildings, and cash a check. Voting is equally important.

The Commission concluded that, although proven voter impersonation is minimal, a photo ID requirement will ensure election integrity and safeguard public perception of the nation's voting system at little cost to anyone.

However, among certain demographics, voter ID laws lower electoral confidence. A 2016 study concluded that Democrats in states with strict ID laws have reduced faith in the electoral system. It said that negative politicization by the Democratic Party may be to blame. On the other hand, Republicans living in strict photo identification states were more confident in their elections, though possibly due to similar politicization by Republican elites. Another 2015 study found that voters living in states with voter ID laws were not more confident in elections than voters who lived in states without such laws.


Studies of the effects of voter ID laws on turnout in the United States have generally found that such laws have little, if any, effect on turnout. This may be because these laws do not reduce turnout very much; it may also be because the strictest voter ID laws have the largest effect on turnout, and they have only been enacted relatively recently.

Although most Americans possess a government-issued photo ID, those without ID may have trouble acquiring the proper credentials, lowering their turnout. A 2011 study by New York University's Brennan Center claimed that of the US population that is of voting age, 6â€"11% lack government-issued photo ID. The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, disputed the methodology of the study, citing a question in which 14 percent of respondents said they had both a U.S. birth certificate and naturalization papers.

Some commentators have argued that strict voter ID laws reduce voter turnout, especially among the poor, blacks, elderly, disabled, and minority-language voters, and voters who have changed their names. However, the results of studies assessing the effect (or lack thereof) of these laws on turnout have been inconclusive. For example, a 2012 study found that a stricter voter ID law in Georgia lowered turnout by about 0.4% in 2008 compared to 2004. A 2006 study also found that voter ID laws decreased aggregate turnout by between 3 and 4 percent. In contrast, several other studies have failed to demonstrate significant turnout reductions. A 2010 study found that 1.2% of registered voters in three states with voter ID laws (Indiana, Maryland, and Mississippi) lacked an ID that complied with the law. In a 2014 review by the Government Accountability Office of the academic literature, five studies out of ten found that voter ID laws had no significant effect on overall turnout, four stu dies found that voter ID laws decreased overall turnout, and one study found that the laws increased overall turnout.

A 2016 study argued that, although no clear-cut relationship exists between strict voter ID laws and voter turnout, the disenfranchising impact of voter ID laws may be hidden by Democratic voter mobilization. Strong negative reactions to voter ID laws among Democratic constituencies could, in theory, boost Democratic turnout enough to compensate for effects of the laws themselves. A 2007 report found a small increase in Democratic turnout in places with new voter ID laws.

Disparate impact

Charges of racial discrimination in voter ID laws are founded in the disparate impact doctrine of constitutional law, which claims that any actionâ€"intentional or unintentionalâ€"that statistically disadvantages a protected class constitutes discrimination. Disparate impact is most often discussed in the context of African Americans. The moral validity and constitutionality of this doctrine is hotly debated.

Federal appeals courts have struck down strict voter-ID laws in Texas and North Carolina, citing intent by the legislatures to discriminate against minority voters. The appeals court noted that the North Carolina Legislature "requested data on the use, by race, of a number of voting practices"â€"then, data in hand, "enacted legislation that restricted voting and registration in five different ways, all of which disproportionately affected African Americans." The changes to the voting process "target African Americans with almost surgical precision," and "impose cures for problems that did not exist."

A 2008 study found that the strictest voter ID laws reduced voter turnout relative to the most lax form of such laws (stating one's name). The same study reported that "the stricter voter identification requirements depress turnout to a greater extent for less educated and lower income populations, for both minorities and non-minorities." A 2009 study found that 84% of white registered voters in Indiana had access to photo ID to comply with that state's ID law, as compared to 78% of black voters on the rolls there. A 2008 study found that African Americans, Hispanics, and the elderly were less likely to have a voter ID that complied with Georgia's voter ID law.

A 2012 analysis by Nate Silver found that voter id laws seem to decrease turnout by between 0.8% and 2.4%, depending on how strict they are, and tend to cause a shift towards the Republican candidate of between 0.4% and 1.2%. Silver found that the statistical reasoning was flawed in a number of studies which had found small effects but had described them as not statistically significant.

According to a report commissioned by the Election Assistance Commission, one effect of voter identification laws, regardless of intention, could be lower turnout, especially among members of minorities. However, in 2012, an investigation by Reuters found that voter ID laws in Georgia and Indiana had not led to lower turnout of minorities and concluded that concerns about this "are probably overstated". In a 2014 review by the Government Accountability Office of the academic literature, three studies out of five found that voter ID laws reduced minority turnout whereas two studies found no significant impact.

A 2014 study by the Government Accountability Office concluded that voter ID laws in Kansas and Tennessee reduced turnout in these states by 1.9 and 2.2 percent, respectively, compared to four states that did not pass voter ID lawsâ€"Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, and Maine. The report claims that young people, black people, and newly registered voters were most likely to have their turnout reduced. But Tennessee officials blamed the reduced turnout on a lack of compelling ballot measures in 2012, and Kansas officials dismissed the drop in black voters as a product of high random variance in a small population. Tennessee officials questioned the reproducibility of this report, given its reliance on data from the progressive political group Catalist.

A 2014 study from the University of Iowa found no evidence that strict voter ID laws reduce minority turnout. A 2012 study found that, although the Georgia voter ID laws lowered overall turnout by 0.4%, there was no racial or ethnic component to the suppression effect.

Disparate impact may also be reflected in access to information about voter ID laws. A 2015 experimental study found that election officials queried about voter ID laws were more likely to respond to emails from a non-Latino Anglo or European name (70.5% response rate) than a Latino name (64.8% response rate), though response accuracy was similar across those groups.

Studies have also analyzed racial differences in ID requests rates. A 2012 study in the city of Boston found strong evidence that non-white voters were more likely to be asked for ID during the 2008 election. According to exit polls, 23% of whites, 33% of Asians, 33% of blacks, and 38% of Hispanics were asked for ID, though this effect is partially attributed to black and Hispanics preferring non-peak voting hours when election officials inspected a greater portion of IDs. Precinct differences confound the data, as black and Hispanic voters tended to vote at black and Hispanic-majority precincts.

A 2010 study of the 2006 midterm election in New Mexico found that election officials asked Hispanics for ID more often than they did early voters, women, and non-Hispanics. A 2009 study of the 2006 midterm elections nationwide found that 47% of white voters reported being asked to show photo identification at the polls, compared with 54% of Hispanics and 55% of African Americans." Very few people were denied the chance to vote as a result of voter identification requests. A 2015 study found that turnout among blacks in Georgia was generally higher since the state began enforcing its strict voter ID law.

A 2017 study "shows that strict identification laws have a differentially negative impact on the turnout of racial and ethnic minorities in primaries and general elections. We also find that voter ID laws skew democracy toward those on the political right." The results of this study have been challenged in a paper by Stanford political scientist Justin Grimmer and four other political scientists. The paper says that the findings in the aforementioned study "are a product of large data inaccuracies, that the evidence does not support the stated conclusion, and that model specifications produce highly variable results. When errors in the analysis are corrected, one can recover positive, negative, or null estimates of the effect of voter ID laws on turnout. Our findings underscore that no definitive relationship between strict voter ID laws and turnout can be established from the validated CCES data."

International comparisons

Many nations require some form of voter identification at the polling place, but specific details of the requirement vary widely. In Spain, Greece, France, Belgium, and Italy, a government-issued photo ID is required to cast a ballot. However, all citizens in these nations are automatically provided with a photo ID upon reaching adulthood. Several Western democracies do not require identification for voting, such as Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. In Ireland, Sweden, and Switzerland, poll workers reserve the right to request identification but are not required to do so. In Canada, identification is required, but voters can provide any two forms of ID from a list of 45 possibilities. Canada’s system is more stringent than the 17 U.S. states that do not require ID but less stringent than the 22 U.S. states with strict requirements. The strict Indiana ID system, for instance, accepts only five forms of ID: an Indiana driver’s license, an Indiana ID card, a military ID, a US passport, or a student ID card. Conversely, some countries, like Australia, require no form of identification at any election. This position is similar to the situation in New York and California.

Several developing nations have instituted voter ID laws. Many Arab nations require voters to leave a fingerprint upon casting a ballot, allowing quick detection of fraud. In 2012, the head of Libya’s national election commission expressed surprise that the American system “depends so much on trust and the good faith of election officials and voters alike”. Likewise, India requires one of fifteen forms of identification to vote. Senegal gives each voter a single marble to cast, ensuring that no one can vote multiple times.

Public opinion

Public opinion polls have shown support for voter ID laws among voters in the United States. A 2011 Rasmussen poll found that 75% of likely voters “believe voters should be required to show photo identification, such as a driver’s license, before being allowed to vote.” A Pew poll showed that 95% of Republicans, 83% of independent voters, and 61% of Democrats favor requirements that voters should show photo IDs to vote. A 2012 Fox News poll produced similar results, revealing that 87% of Republicans, 74% of independent voters, and 52% of Democrats supported new voter ID laws.

Although all major political demographics support voter ID laws, a 2013 study showed significant divergence in opinion between conservative-affiliated demographics, which are staunch supporters, and liberal-affiliated demographics, which are less supportive. The study also showed that support depends on survey framing: when questions biased against voter ID laws are asked, support drops 15% compared to when questions favorable to voter ID laws are asked. A 2016 study showed that emphasizing the adverse effects of voter ID laws on eligible voters decreased popular support for such laws. Another 2016 study found that white people with high levels of implicit racism, but not explicit racism, were more supportive of voter ID laws when they were exposed to a fear-eliciting condition. A 2016 study found that partisan affiliation is a major determinant of support for voter ID laws and that Republicans are especially likely to be concerned about voter fraud. Research shows that Individual s who hold anti-immigrant views are most likely to believe that voter fraud is rampant.

Politicization of voter ID issues

In 2014, a study released by the Congressional Research Service concluded that, in the absence of systematic risk analyses, it is difficult to determine what points in the election processâ€"voter registration, voting systems, polling place location and hours, pollworker training, voter identification, vote tabulation, or other stepsâ€"involve the greatest potential risks to election integrity and therefore warrant the greatest attention. Another 2014 study argued that careful voter roll maintenance is probably a more effective method for preventing voter fraud than voter ID laws.

A 2015 study found that local coverage of voter fraud during the 2012 elections was greatest in presidential swing states and states that passed strict vote ID laws prior to the 2012 election. There was no evidence that the reporting was related to the actual rate of voter fraud in each state. Based on this data, the authors concluded that "parties and campaigns sought to place voter fraud on the political agenda in strategically important states to motivate their voting base ahead of the election". Another 2015 study found a similar correlation between the enactment of voter ID laws and a state's electoral competitiveness, suggesting electioneering motives.

A 2016 study found polarization over voter ID laws was less stark in state legislatures where electoral competition was not intense. The same 2016 study found a notable relationship between the racial composition of a member’s district, region, and electoral competition, and the likelihood that a state lawmaker supported a voter ID bill. The study found that "Democratic lawmakers representing substantial black district populations are more opposed to restrictive voter ID laws, whereas Republican legislators with substantial black district populations are more supportive." Southern lawmakers (particularly Democrats) were more opposed to restrictive voter ID legislation. Black legislators in the South were the least supportive of restrictive voter ID bills.

A forthcoming study in American Politics Research finds that the adoption of voter ID laws is most likely when control of the governor’s office and state legislature switches to Republicans, and when the size of black and Latino populations in the state increases.

Several states controlled by Democrats maintain voter ID laws. For instance, Hawaii has required a state-issued photo ID for decades. In 2011, the Rhode Island legislature enacted a photo ID requirement, which was signed by governor Lincoln Chafee, making Rhode Island the most recent state controlled by Democrats to pass such legislation. However, both Hawaii and Rhode Island are "non-strict photo ID states", meaning that, in some circumstances, an affidavit or other legal measure can satisfy the ID requirement.

Voter ID laws in the United States  - texas voter id law
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