The House on Thursday approved a proposed constitutional amendment to require voters to show photo identification at the polls. House Joint Resolution 1016 by Rep. Robin Lundstrum, R-Elm Springs, passed in a 73-21 vote. The resolution goes to Senate. The proposal, if referred to the November 2018 ballot and approved by voters, would amend the Arkansas Constitution to include among the qualifications to vote a requirement that a person show photo ID before casing a ballot in person and include photo ID when mailing an absentee ballot.
Articles about voting issues in Arkansas.
A House committee on Wednesday endorsed a proposed constitutional amendment to require voters to show photo identification at the polls. In a voice vote that was not unanimous, the House State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee gave a “do pass” recommendation to House Joint Resolution 1016 by Rep. Robin Lundstrum, R-Elm Springs. The resolution goes to the House. The proposal, if referred to the November 2018 ballot and approved by voters, would amend the Arkansas Constitution to include among the qualifications to vote a requirement that a person show photo ID before casing a ballot in person and include photo ID when mailing an absentee ballot.
A Senate committee voted Tuesday to advance a bill to require voters to show photo identification at the polls. In a voice vote with no audible dissent, the all-Republican Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee gave a “do pass” recommendation to House Bill 1047 by Rep. Mark Lowery, R-Maumelle. The bill, which passed in the House last month in a 74-21 vote, goes next to the full Senate. Lowery told the committee the bill has been amended since it passed the House. Previously, the bill stated that a voter who did not show photo ID could cast a provisional ballot. The provisional ballot would be counted if the voter showed photo ID to the county clerk or county election board by noon on the Monday after the election.
A Republican legislator who wants to reinstate Arkansas’ voter ID law has proposed adding a way for people who don’t show identification to cast a provisional ballot if they sign a statement. Opponents of the law say the change doesn’t erase their concerns that the requirement will disenfranchise thousands of Arkansas voters. The amendment filed late Thursday afternoon to the House-backed voter ID bill would allow someone who doesn’t show identification to sign a sworn statement under penalty of perjury at the polling site. The ballot would be counted unless the county board of election commissioners finds it invalid based on other grounds. “What we’re trying to put in is something that improves confidence in the integrity of the ballot without unduly disenfranchising voters who for whatever reason don’t have ID,” Rep. Mark Lowery said. “I think it serves as a needful deterrent for anyone who would want to commit election fraud.”
A case cited by the White House as evidence that non-citizens cast illegal votes in American elections did not actually involve any non-citizens voting, the latest in a series of misleading statements on the subject by the administration. Donald Trump’s deputy press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, referred in a television interview on Sunday to an incident in her native Arkansas, which she said supported Trump’s claims about voter fraud. Trump has repeatedly alleged, without evidence, that he lost the national popular vote to Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent, because millions of non-citizens voted illegally. His claim has been widely dismissed as a fabrication. … After the president and a senior aide revived the claims last week, Huckabee Sanders was asked on MSNBC: “Do you think that there are 3 to 5 million undocumented immigrants who cast votes, and that that would have swung the president’s election, in terms of the popular vote, his way?” Huckabee Sanders replied: “Look, I don’t know how many different voters voted illegally, but I do know that it exists. In my home state of Arkansas, there was a judge that was caught with, I think, roughly 180 ballots sitting on his kitchen table. So to pretend like voter fraud isn’t something real and doesn’t exist is laughable.”
Counties across the state say they need a major upgrade to voting equipment to prevent system failures in the next election. They fear aging and potentially failing machines could get in the way of a successful electoral process. Officials say providing new machines for nearly the entire state would cost around $34 million. Some want to split the cost in the Governor’s budget over two years which could have the entire state up and running by the next major election. Current problems include the voting machine operating software. “The biggest one I think is they say that they run off Windows XP and that is no longer being supported by Microsoft,” said State Rep. Trevor Drown (R/Dover). “So there’s nothing that’s upgradeable in regards to the equipment.”
Republicans, concerned that enacting a law will not be enough to require voters to provide photo identifications before casting ballots, are working to refer a constitutional amendment to the voters that would impose the requirements. Sen. Bryan King, R-Green Forest, filed Senate Joint Resolution 6 late Wednesday. It followed the House passage Tuesday of a voter-identification bill sponsored by Rep. Mark Lowery, R-Maumelle. “I don’t think there’s any question that voter fraud’s been going on — despite what the Democrats have denied,” King said. “They’ve stopped, actually, investigations into voter fraud. The system that the Democrats set up in Arkansas was for years, was a rigged system.” H.L. Moody, a spokesman for the Democratic Party of Arkansas, said election commissions are now generally controlled by Republicans.
The Arkansas House approved a plan Tuesday to reinstate a voter ID law that was struck down more than two years ago, with Republicans counting on a new state Supreme Court makeup to uphold the measure this time. The proposal approved by a 74-21 vote is nearly identical to a law the Republican Legislature enacted in 2013 requiring voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot. The state Supreme Court unanimously struck down the measure in 2014, with the majority of the court ruling it unconstitutionally added a new qualification for voting. The latest proposal is aimed at addressing a concern three of the court’s seven justices raised that the prohibition didn’t pass with enough votes in the Legislature when it was enacted in 2013. The proposal will need two-thirds support in both chambers, a threshold it easily cleared in the House. It now heads to the state Senate.
An Arkansas House panel has backed a proposal to reinstate the state’s voter ID law that was struck down more than two years ago, moving forward with the restriction months after Republicans expanded their majorities in the Legislature. The House State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee, after hearing public comment from Arkansans, endorsed the proposal Wednesday requiring most voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot. The measure now heads to the House. State Rep. Mark Lowery, R-Maumelle, told the panel Wednesday that the measure, House Bill 1047, is not focused on specific instances of voting fraud.
Before the 91st General Assembly begins on Monday, January 9, Arkansas legislators in both the House and Senate continue to introduce bills. This time, State Representative Mark Lowery has introduced a bill requiring a voter provide verification of their identity when they go to vote. … In 2014, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox ruled that Act 595, introduced in the 89th General Assembly, was unconstitutional. The Arkansas Supreme Court agreed with Judge Fox’s decision, striking down the act.