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(AP) (AP)


Jill Terreri Ramos
By Jill Terreri Ramos December 18, 2021

Poll shows support for voter ID across groups, with one exception

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  • A private poll of 600 New York voters showed that 57.3 percent of respondents said that they strongly support voter identification requirements for casting ballots in person or by mail. Another 12.5 percent said they somewhat support these requirements. 
  • Support exceeded 50 percent in all racial, geographic, and political groups, except among Democrats, where it was 49 percent. 

Rep. Lee Zeldin, a Long Island Republican running for governor, claims most New Yorkers support voter identification laws. 

New York generally does not require voters to show photo identification when they vote. But Zeldin has called for a law to change that, and he launched a petition in support. 

"Voter ID is supported by an overwhelming majority of NYers, from all across the state, walks of life, & political parties," Zeldin tweeted on Dec. 8. 

Given the debate about election security across the nation, we wondered if he is correct. 

We reached out to Zeldin’s campaign, and spokesperson Katie Vincentz provided us with a screenshot from a private poll of 600 New York voters from September, conducted by McLaughlin and Associates on behalf of the Conservative Party of New York. The screenshot included a single question: Do you support or oppose requiring photo ID to vote whether in-person or by absentee mail-in? 

The results indicate that 600 likely general election voters responded. Of those, a majority, 57.3%, said they "strongly support" voter identification requirements and 12.5% said they "somewhat support" such requirements. Overall, 69.8% of  respondents expressed some level of support for requiring voter identification. 

The poll showed 27.7% of respondents opposed it. Of those, 20.5% said they "strongly oppose" and 7.2 % said they "somewhat oppose" it. The rest of those polled said they didn’t know or refused to answer.

Polls done for candidates, parties and lobbyists can be problematic. Pollsters may bring a perceived point of view to the polls, which can color everything from how questions are asked to how responses are weighted.     

We spoke with pollster John McLaughlin, who said the poll included more Republicans and Conservatives than are reflected in New York’s voter rolls, but added it was adjusted for actual voter turnout in a general election. 

Among Republicans, 98% supported it. Among non-affiliated voters, 82% supported it. Among Democrats, 49% supported. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points, so support among Democrats could be 53%, or it could be 45%. 

Support for the measure was strong upstate and downstate. Majorities of all racial groups polled also supported it,  ranging from 91% in support among Asian respondents to 58% among Black respondents.  

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Thirty-seven percent of poll respondents live upstate, and 63% live downstate. Respondents were a mix of party affiliations: 31% percent Republican, 52% percent Democratic or Working Families, and 18% non-affiliated or who refused to answer.

Seventy-two percent of respondents were white, 10% were Hispanic, 12% were Black, and 4% were Asian. 

Other polls

We also sought out other recent public polls of New York voters, but came up empty. Representatives from three major polling organizations: Siena College Research Institute, Marist College Institute for Public Opinion and Quinnipiac University said that they had not polled this question. 

In New York, a voter’s identity is verified when they register to vote. If their identity cannot be verified during the registration process, they are asked for identification the first time they vote, according to the state Board of Elections registration form.

In August, PolitiFact looked at new voter identification laws and found broad public support for voter identification laws, even among Democrats. PolitiFact also found nuance in the debate, and that asking people whether they support or oppose these laws obscure these aspects. These include voter identification requirements already in place, the low risk of voter fraud, and the support even among voting rights advocates for voter identification laws that are flexible enough to accommodate all voters. States set their own rules on voter identification. Some are strict, and others less so, accepting many different forms of identification to vote.  

Recent national polls show broad support for voter identification. A Monmouth University poll from June of 810 adults showed that 91% of Republicans, 62% of Democrats and 87% of non-affiliated voters support requiring photo identification to vote. In April, the Pew Research Center polled 5,109 people and asked whether photo identification should be required to vote: 76% of all respondents said they support the requirement. A majority in both parties support it: 93% of Republicans and 61% of Democrats. In March, an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll found that 72% of respondents strongly or somewhat favor requiring photo identification to vote. 

The Economist/YouGov polled in March and found 64% of respondents support photo identification requirements for in-person voting. Analyzed by region, support was lowest in the Northeast, with 53% in favor. Only 46% of Northeast voters supported it for absentee voting. 

Our ruling

Zeldin claimed voter identification requirements are supported by an overwhelming majority of New Yorkers, from across the state, walks of life, and political parties.

Zeldin backs the claim with a private poll of 600 New Yorkers conducted for the Conservative Party of New York. A majority of poll respondents, 57.3%, said they strongly support voter identification requirements for voting in-person or casting absentee ballots while 12.5% said they somewhat support the requirements. The poll showed majorities of each racial group, geographic group, and political affiliation support the requirements, with one exception. Support among Democrats in the poll was at 49%, with a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points.  

The requirements are broadly supported across the country, and according to a single private poll, in New York state as well. 

We rate this Mostly True. 

Our Sources

Twitter, tweet, @leezeldin, Dec. 8, 2021. Accessed Dec. 15, 2021.  

NYS Board of Elections, Voter Registration Form, revised May 5, 2021. Accessed Dec. 15, 2021. 

NYC Board of Elections web page, "Voter ID." Accessed Dec. 15, 2021. 

Phone Interview, Steven Greenberg, Siena College pollster, Dec. 10, 2021. 

Email interview, Mary Griffith, Director of Media Initiatives and Polling News, The Marist Institute for Public Opinion, Dec. 15, 2021. 

Email interview, Mary Snow, spokesperson, Quinnipiac College Poll, Dec. 10, 2021. 

PolitiFact, "As extremes shape voter ID debate, the rules keep getting stricter," Aug. 9, 2021. Accessed Dec. 15, 2021. 

The Hill, "Let's put the vote-by-mail 'fraud' myth to rest," April 28, 2020. Accessed Dec. 15, 2021. 

Tufts public opinion lab, Strict Voter ID Laws Are Popular Among Majorities in Both Parties, Racial and Ethnic Groups, March 18, 2021. Accessed Dec. 15, 2021. 

Monmouth University poll, "National: Public Supports Both Early Voting and Requiring Photo ID to Vote," June 21, 2021. Accessed Dec. 16, 2021.  

Pew Research Center, "Republicans and Democrats Move Further Apart in Views of Voting Access," April 22, 2021. Accessed Dec. 16, 2021.  

Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, March 2021 poll results. Accessed Dec. 16, 2021.  

Economist/YouGov poll, March 2021

FiveThirtyEight, "Americans Oppose Many Voting Restrictions — But Not Voter ID Laws," April 2, 2021. Accessed Dec 16, 2021. 

Email interview, Calvin Jordan, Pew Research Center, Dec. 16, 2021.

Phone interview, pollster John McLaughlin, of McLaughlin and Associates, Dec. 17, 2021. 

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Poll shows support for voter ID across groups, with one exception

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