A lawsuit filed Wednesday claims the state’s new voter-identification law is just as flawed as the one the Arkansas Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional almost four years ago. The 23-page petition asks Pulaski County Circuit Judge Alice Gray to similarly rule that Act 633 of 2017 is illegal. The law requires voters, in order to guarantee that their ballots are counted, prove to election officials by use of government-issued photo identification that they are registered to vote. The statute the high court struck down in 2014 required people to use photo IDs to prove their identity before voting.
Articles about voting issues in Arkansas.
A former Arkansas lawmaker serving on the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity died Monday in Little Rock. David Dunn, a lifelong Democrat from Forrest City who served three terms in the state House of Representatives, died at CHI St. Vincent Infirmary in Little Rock while undergoing surgery to fix an aortic aneurysm, friends said. He was 52 years old. Dunn, who grew up in Pine Bluff, was a former executive director of the Forrest City Chamber of Commerce. After serving in the General Assembly from 2005-11, he co-founded Capitol Partners, a Little Rock lobbying firm.
In a quiet corner of the Pulaski County Courthouse, a desktop computer and a camera meant to provide voter IDs sat unused last week. A special election for a tax increase in North Little Rock has been one of the first tests of the state’s new voter identification law. The law requires voters to either show photo IDs or sign documents to confirm their identities. Election day is Tuesday. Early voting ends today. At the close of business Friday, 1,086 people had cast early votes in the election at one of two locations, including the Pulaski County Regional Building in Little Rock across the street from the courthouse. During early voting from last Tuesday through midafternoon Friday, eight were unable to show a photo identification, but their provisional ballots will be counted because they signed forms affirming their identities, said Bryan Poe, director of elections for the Pulaski County Election Commission.
Arkansas’ revived law requiring voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot will be put to the test — and come under heightened scrutiny by opponents who fear the new measure could lead to disenfranchisement— when it takes effect this week. Voters heading to the polls early in three cities and two counties Tuesday for special elections on sales tax measures will be required to show photo ID before casting a ballot, or sign a sworn statement confirming their identity under the law approved by the Legislature earlier this year. The measure revives a similar voter ID restriction that was struck down by the state’s highest court three years ago. The American Civil Liberties Union, which successfully challenged Arkansas’ previous voter ID law, said it’ll be watching carefully to see how the latest restriction is enforced during early voting and on the Aug. 8 election day to prepare for another potential lawsuit if voters are being disenfranchised.
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.”
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.