Arkansas legislators have approved rules necessary to implement a new voter-identification law that could go into effect as early as September. The state Board of Election Commissioners approved the rules Wednesday for a new law that says voters should show photo identification before casting ballots, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/2sunKSh ) reported. Those without photo identification can sign a sworn statement saying they’re registered voters in the state. “We’ve had some complaints on that over the past year,” said Keith Rutledge, director of the Board of Election Commissioners. “This pretty much will clear that up. You either show me your ID or you sign this affidavit — basically.”
Articles about voting issues in Arkansas.
The state Board of Election Commissioners on Wednesday approved rules necessary to implement a new voter-identification law, clearing the way for ballots to be cast under the legislation as soon as September. Instead of asking for photo identification — but not requiring it — the proposed rules and Act 633 of 2017, by Rep. Mark Lowery, R-Maumelle, make the process more straightforward, said Keith Rutledge, director of the Board of Election Commissioners. “We’ve had some complaints on that over the past year,” he said. “This pretty much will clear that up. You either show me your ID or you sign this affidavit — basically.” The law and the proposed rules tell voters to show photo identification before casting ballots, but allow people without photo identification to sign a sworn statement saying they are registered voters in Arkansas.
Arkansas: As elections association comes to end, officials look to form replacement | Arkansas Denicrat-Gazette
A group of Northwest Arkansas election commissioners plans to start a new organization to replace the Arkansas County Election Commissions Association, which is set to dissolve this year. “We can really help each other,” said Bill Ackerman, Washington County Election Commission chairman. “The door is open to all the counties who want to be here.” Commissioners from about 11 counties agreed Wednesday to hold an organizational meeting June 28 in Fayetteville. Previously, the local County Boards of Election Commissioners meetings have been attended by representatives from about seven Northwest Arkansas counties. Others, including Marion and Pope counties, were recently invited. Commissioners said they want an organization that will lobby lawmakers, answer questions on how commissioners should implement new laws and provide peer-to-peer support.
Arkansas’ governor signed a measure Friday requiring voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot, reinstating a voter ID law that was struck down by the state’s highest court more than two years ago. The bill signed by Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson closely mirrors the law enacted by the Legislature in 2013 that was found unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court the following year. The latest law is aimed at addressing the argument by some justices that the 2013 law didn’t receive enough votes in the Legislature to be enacted. Unlike that measure, the latest version of the requirement allows voters with a photo ID to cast a provisional ballot if they sign a sworn statement confirming their identity.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a bill into law Friday aimed at resurrecting many of the requirements of a voter-identification law that was struck down by the Arkansas Supreme Court in 2014. House Bill 1047, by Rep. Mark Lowery, R-Maumelle, will require voters to show photo identification before casting ballots. It also will require the secretary of state’s office to issue free photo identification cards to those who lack other acceptable identification. A new provision — not included in the old law — allows people without photo identification to sign a sworn statement saying they are registered in Arkansas. By signing that statement, they will be allowed to cast provisional ballots to be verified later. “I’ve always supported reasonable requirements for verification of voter registration,” Hutchinson said in a statement. “This law is different — in a number of ways — than the previous law, which was struck down by the Supreme Court. It should hold up under any court review. For those reasons, I signed the bill into law.”
A legislative panel on Wednesday narrowly rejected a bill that would transfer $18.5 million in surplus funds from the state Insurance Department’s trust fund to the secretary of state’s office to buy voting equipment for counties. The 14-member subcommittee’s 7-2 vote on Senate Bill 297, sponsored by Sen. Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs, fell one vote short of the eight votes required for approval. Hester said the money would buy “much-needed voting machines in each of our districts.” SB297 also would grant the secretary of state’s office $34.5 million in spending authority for county voting system grants.
Lawmakers on Monday sent to Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s desk a bill to require voters to show photo identification at the polls. The House concurred in Senate amendments to House Bill 1047 by Rep. Mark Lowery, R-Maumelle, which House members previously approved in different form. The concurrence was the final hurdle the bill had to clear to go to the governor. A spokesman for Hutchinson said Monday the governor generally supports a photo ID requirement for voters but would need to take a closer look at HB 1047 before deciding whether to sign it.
The Senate on Wednesday approved a bill to require Arkansas voters to show photo ID at the polls. House Bill 1047 by Rep. Mark Lowery, R-Maumelle, passed in a 25-8 vote, reaching with one vote to spare the two-thirds majority vote needed for passage in the 35-member Senate. The bill passed in the House in a 74-21 vote in January and now goes back to that chamber for concurrence in Senate amendments. Sen. Larry Teague, D-Nashville, was the only Senate Democrat to join with Republicans in voting for the bill Wednesday. Democrats cast all the votes against it.
Lawmakers on Tuesday referred to the November 2018 ballot a proposed constitutional amendment to require voters to show photo identification at the polls. House Joint Resolution 1016 by Rep. Robin Lundstrum, R-Springdale, passed in the Senate in a 24-8 vote. The House approved the measure last month in a 73-21 vote, so Senate approval was the final hurdle the resolution had to clear to make the ballot. Sen. Larry Teague, D-Nashville, was the only Democrat to join Republicans in voting for the measure. No Republican voted against it, although some did not vote.
Legislation that would require voters to show photo identification in order to cast ballots failed to clear the Arkansas Senate on Monday. The Senate’s 20-8 vote on House Bill 1047 by Rep. Mark Lowery, R-Maumelle, fell four votes short of the 24 votes required for approval in the 35-member Senate. Six senators didn’t vote on the measure. The bill requires a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate because Amendment 51 to the Arkansas Constitution authorizes lawmakers to amend voter-registration measures if at least two-thirds of both houses of the General Assembly approve the changes. The 100-member House earlier voted to approve the bill 74-21. Afterward, Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Bigelow, said he would ask the Senate to approve the bill “once they get the votes in here. The support is there.” He said some members were out in meetings.