FACT CHECK: Did Barack Obama Lose Every State That Has Voter ID Laws?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

A post shared on Facebook purports former President Barack Obama lost the popular vote in every state with voter identification (ID) laws.

Verdict: False

This claim is inaccurate. Obama won several states that did have voter ID requirements and lost several states that did not have voter ID.

Fact Check:

Obama has been campaigning for Democratic candidates in swing states such as Wisconsin and Arizona, according to Politico. The former president was heckled twice, including a recent incident in Arizona while campaigning for Democratic Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly, The Hill reported.

The Facebook post purports Obama only won the votes in states that didn’t require voter ID. “Obama won in every state that didn’t require voter ID, and lost in every state that did,” the post reads. “The cheating won’t stop until we make it stop!” (RELATED: Did No Court Consider Evidence Of Election Fraud In 2020?)

This claim is misleading and lacks context. Only two states, Georgia and Indiana, required photo identification at the polls in 2008, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Election results from the Indiana Secretary of State’s Election Division shows Obama won the state in 2008, though he did lose Georgia by over 200,000 votes to his opponent, Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain.

Georgia, Indiana, Kansas and Tennessee all had strict voter ID laws –requiring voter identification at polling places– and Obama lost all these states, according to the National Archives. Obama lost several states that did not require voter identification.

States such as Mississippi, Nebraska, West Virginia, North Carolina and Wyoming did not require photo identification at the polls in 2012, according to the NCSL. Furthermore, Obama won several states that had “non-strict” voter identification laws, such as Virginia and Michigan in 2008. Virginia’s voter identification laws were moved to “strict” in 2012, though it did not require a photo ID at polling places.

Pew Trusts, a part of the Pew Research Center, documented several states had some form of ID law, including the states of Florida, New Mexico, Colorado, Wisconsin and Michigan, which were all won by Obama.

Currently 35 states have some form of voter identification required in order to vote, according to NCSL. Valid photo IDs include a driver’s license, tribal ID and military ID. More lax identification methods include a signature.

The claim that Obama lost every state that required voter ID has been circulating for years, with Reuters debunking the claim in September 2022 and Politifact debunking a version of the claim in September 2016.

This is not the first time misinformation about voting laws have circulated online. Check Your Fact recently debunked a claim that an initiative would remove security seals from Connecticut ballots.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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