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Early Voting Begins Today

Arkansas Supreme Court Says Photo ID Not Required 

BY MELANIE BUCK –

As early voting began today, Monday, October 20, the Arkansas Supreme Court has ruled that photo identification is not required by would-be voters in future elections.

Under the law, voters who did not show photo identification could only cast provisional ballots. Those ballots were then counted only if they provided photo identification to county election officials by noon on the Monday following an election.

Members of ACLU (Arkansas Civil Liberties Union) of Arkansas and the Arkansas Public Law Center sued to have the law stricken as unconstitutional after the state legislature passed the law in 2013. Governor Mike Beebe vetoed the law, however, the legislature over-rode his veto.

In May of this year, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox ruled the law imposed a new voter qualification on citizens that exceeded those included in the state constitution. On Wednesday, October 15, the state’s highest court agreed, the law does not adhere to Arkansas’ Constitution. The Constitution states:

“Except as otherwise provided by this Constitution, any person may vote in an election in this State who is:  (1) A citizen of the United States;  (2) A resident of the State of Arkansas;  (3) At lease eighteen (18) years of age; and (4) Lawfully registered to vote in the election.”

“These four qualifications set forth in our state’s constitution simply do not include any proof-of-identity requirement,” the ruling said.

Polk County voters interested in casting their ballots may do so at the “old hospital” building, the Polk County Office Complex, located at 606 Pine Street from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Early voting will end at 5 p.m. November 3.

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