In swing states, voters largely back controversial ID laws

A large majority of voters in Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin, three key swing states that have adopted controversial voting laws over the last two years, back these measures and largely agree with conservatives they are designed to prevent people from voting illegally, according to a new Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS poll.

Sixty-six percent of voters in Wisconsin, 75 percent in Ohio and 78 percent in Florida support provisions that require people to present a form of photo identification to vote. (Of the three states, only Wisconsin has adopted a voter ID law). In Florida, 65 percent of people back an effort by the state’s governor, Republican Rick Scott, to closely examine the state’s voter rolls and “purge” people who should not be eligible to vote, versus 28 percent who argue it is an attempt to “suppress voting by certain demographic groups.”

These numbers come despite intense scrutiny from liberal groups and Democrats on new voting provisions, which they say  unfairly target minorities, who are less likely to have photo identification. Liberal groups successfully sued to stop the voter ID law from being implemented in Wisconsin, but one remains on the books in Pennsylvania, another key swing state.

The Obama campaign is suing to stop Ohio from limiting the number of days for early voting, arguing the restriction is intended to target Obama-friendly voters who might want to avoid long lines on Election Day.

In all three of the states, the polls showed Obama ahead overall, suggesting many Democratic-leaning voters support these ID provisions, despite sharp criticism of them from Attorney General Eric Holder and other Democrats.

Follow Perry Bacon Jr. on Twitter at @perrybaconjr

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