A 7-month-old law that requires Arkansas voters to show a government-endorsed photo identification to ensure that their ballot is counted goes before a judge today for the first test of its legality. Longtime Pulaski County poll worker Barry Haas, represented by Little Rock attorney Jeff Priebe, has asked Pulaski County Circuit Judge Alice Gray to block continued enforcement of Act 633 of 2017 until a trial that would determine whether the provision is legal. To prevail, Haas will have to show that the identification law violates the state constitution and that his legal arguments are likely going to prevail at that yet-to-be-scheduled trial. He sued the secretary of state and the state Board of Election last month, challenging the legality of the law. Gray is scheduled to hear arguments at 9:45 a.m.
Supporters say identification laws are necessary to strengthen election security and reduce fraud. Critics, like Haas, say those laws add unnecessary requirements that mostly keep minority, poor and elderly residents from voting.
In his response to the lawsuit, Secretary of State Mark Martin asks the judge to throw out the petition, particularly because of the timing of the litigation.
Martin contends that suspending the ID law this close to the May primaries — and on the eve of a bond election Tuesday in Maumelle — would significantly disrupt election preparation, doing more harm to voters than any inconvenience Haas might have to endure under the identification law.
Full Article: Voter-ID law at polls faces 1st legal test.