The Arkansas Supreme Court heard oral arguments today on the state’s appeal of a ruling invalidating the voter ID law passed in 2017. Judge Alice Gray enjoined the law as an unconstitutional addition of a restriction on voting, but the Supreme Court earlier stayed that order and the law was put in place in primary voting. Jeff Priebe, attorney for the plaintiff, Barry Haas, in a public interest lawsuit, argued that the 2017 law was an attempt to circumvent a similar law passed in 2014 that was struck down by the Arkansas Supreme Court. A change was made that allowed voters who didn’t have an ID to cast a provisional ballot and sign an affidavit and the vote is supposed to be counted unless other problems are found.
The case may end up being only about this year’s general election. The reason: A constitutional amendment is on the ballot in November that changes the document so that voter ID is clearly allowable. The ID laws have been proposed around the country by Republicans in the name of combatting voter fraud. No meaningful voter fraud has been found anywhere, but studies have found that the ID requirement has discouraged voting, particularly among minority voters.