Key provisions of Democrats’ voting rights bill garner strong majority support with room to grow

The one exception to public embrace for many of Democrats’ voting reforms was strong support for laws requiring voters to show photo IDs, which Democrats hope to ease, not tighten. Some 72% of respondents supported photo ID laws, including 91% of Republicans and 56% of Democrats in favor. Just 14% opposed such a provision. The Democratic bill currently being considered compels states with an ID requirement to allow voters to sign a sworn statement under penalty of perjury as an alternative to showing a picture ID. Many people who don’t drive, particularly in cities, simply have no need for a license or photo ID card of any sort. 

In one example of how a voter ID law can go awry (albeit perhaps intentionally), Georgia’s new law requires voters to submit an ID to vote by mail and, if they use a drivers license, they must provide the drivers license number. But Georgia state licenses include two numbers that could be confused.


Overall, Democrats and Republicans fundamentally disagree on the challenges facing the nation’s election system. While 62% of Democrats say people being eligible to vote but not being allowed to do so is a major problem, just 30% of Republicans agree. Meanwhile, 63% of Republicans pinpoint people voting who are not eligible as a major problem, while just 19% of Democrats say the same.

Generally speaking, a lot of people expressed no opinion one way or the other on many of the provisions, leaving both parties with room to argue their case and impact public opinion. 

One example of that is in support for setting up independent nonpartisan commissions to draw legislative districts. While a 49% plurality favored that measure, fully 42% said they had no opinion on it, and just 8% strongly opposed it. 

Democrats and voting rights advocates are starting in a good position on making critical reforms to voting, but they certainly have work to do and room to grow, according to Wendy Weiser, who heads up the democracy program at the Brennan Center. “The two things that increase support are people learning more about the reforms and how they work and people experiencing those reforms in practice in their own communities,” Weiser told the AP.