When it comes to voter ID laws, Republicans care intensely about fraud while Democrats worry more about whether their own party will come out ahead, according to a provocative new academic study that challenges conventional assumptions about what motivates support for stricter voting laws.

Voting-rights activists have long accused GOP officeholders of racism or political expedience in fights over voting laws, but the study suggests that at least for average voters, Republicans’ support is a good-faith assessment of dangers they see in illegal voting.

Republicans respond to even small reports of voter fraud, seeing them as a reason to back stricter voting access, according to the research by John V. Kane, a professor at New York University, whose study was published in the latest Public Opinion Quarterly.

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