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Arkansas voter ID law challenged in court by ACLU

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 16, 2014 at 4:11 pm •  Published: April 16, 2014

While the law was used in some local elections earlier this year it will be used statewide for the first time during early voting beginning May 5 and on primary election day, May 20.

The ACLU said it planned to later ask for a preliminary injunction blocking the law's enforcement while the challenge is being considered.

Thirty-one states have laws in effect requiring voters to show some form of identification, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Seven states have strict photo ID requirements similar to Arkansas. Voter ID laws have been put on hold in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania because of court challenges.

The lawsuit asks the court to prevent the state from enforcing the ID requirement, which took effect on Jan. 1, in the primary.

Under previous law, election workers were required to ask for photo ID but voters don't have to show it to cast a ballot. Under the new law, voters who don't show photo identification can cast provisional ballots. Those ballots would be counted only if voters provide ID to county election officials before noon on the Monday following an election, sign an affidavit stating they are indigent or have a religious objection to being photographed.

Arkansas Republicans had pushed for voter ID requirements for years, but the measure failed to reach the governor's desk under Democratic majorities. Republicans in 2012 won control of the Legislature for the first time in 138 years and have enjoyed a number of successes, including the passage of stricter anti-abortion laws and broader gun rights.

The lawsuit is the second related to the new ID requirements although the challenge Wednesday is the first challenging the law directly. The Pulaski County Election Commission has sued the state Board of Election Commissioners for adopting a rule that gives absentee voters additional time to show proof of ID


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