Policy: Law

ACLU says Ark. voter ID law disenfranchised primary voters

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Arkansas,Voter ID Laws,Law,Legal Newsline

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Legal Newsline) – With the state Supreme Court allowing Arkansas’ new law requiring voters to present IDs to go forward, hundreds of absentee votes were not counted in the May 20 primary – a fact that one group says has disenfranchised voters.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas believes the law has disenfranchised voters and goes beyond the qualifications for voting set forth in the Arkansas Constitution, according to a June 1 Times Record article.

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On Jan. 1, Act 595 went into effect, requiring voters to show photo identification and absentee voters to submit an approved form of identification with their ballots.

The ACLU says that for the May 20 primary, hundreds of absentee ballots lacked ID and were not counted in the following counties, including 146 in Mississippi County; 90 in Jefferson County; 62 in Pulaski County; 39 in Sebastian County; 38 in Lee County; and 17 in Lawrence County.

On April 24, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox struck down the voter ID law, ruling that the act violates the state constitution by adding a requirement that voters must meet before casting a ballot.

However, a month later, the Arkansas Supreme Court vacated the order on May 14, opining that the judge lacked the authority to strike down the entire law since the case in question focused on the absentee voting provision of the law.

The case stems from a suit brought by the Pulaski County Election Commission against the Arkansas Board of Election Commissioners, which adopted a rule that gives absentee voters additional time to show proof of ID.

The state’s high court has not ruled on the constitutionality of the law yet.

Reach David Yates at elections@legalnewsline.com

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