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Judge: Arkansas GOP can defend absentee-vote law

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published April 14, 2014 at 7:23 a.m. Updated April 14, 2014 at 11:54 a.m.

LITTLE ROCK — A judge on Monday said he'll allow the Arkansas Republican Party to help defend the state in a lawsuit over the way absentee ballots are handled under the state's new voter ID law, saying he wants to resolve the case quickly as the first statewide test of the law approaches.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox granted the request by the GOP to defend the state Board of Election Commissioners for adopting a rule that gives absentee voters additional time to show proof of ID. The Pulaski County Election Commission claimed in a lawsuit earlier this month that the state panel overstepped its bounds with the new rule.

Fox, however, said he was rejecting the GOP's argument that the state's attorney general couldn't adequately represent the board. Before issuing his ruling at a brief hearing, Fox said the public "needs to feel confident that everything was done appropriately in a case of this nature."

The rule being challenged allows voters who did not submit required identification with their absentee ballot to turn in the documents for their vote to be counted by noon Monday after an election. It mirrors an identical "cure period" the law gives to voters who fail to show identification at the polls.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, a Democrat, issued a legal opinion in February in which he said absentee voters could not be given additional time to cast ballots, because that wasn't specified in the law. His opinion conflicted with advice that the Republican secretary of state's office had given to local election officials.

Assistant Attorney General Joe Cordi told Fox during the hearing that the state board primarily objected to the reasoning behind the GOP's interest in intervening in the case. An attorney for the Pulaski County panel suing over the rule said its concern was that allowing the GOP to intervene would delay the case.

Fox set a Friday deadline for both sides to file motions for summary judgment in the case and an April 23 deadline for both sides to reply. Fox said he hoped to resolve the case quickly, since it any ruling will likely be appealed to the state Supreme Court and the state primary is on May 20.

Early voting for the primary begins May 5.

The Republican-led Legislature approved the voter ID law last year, overriding a veto by Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe. The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas has said it plans to ask a state judge to block the law.

Comments on: Judge: Arkansas GOP can defend absentee-vote law

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LevyRat says... April 14, 2014 at 11:02 a.m.

The TAX AND SPEND LIBERAL DEMOCRATS just can't stand it when dead people can't vote.

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aimee says... April 14, 2014 at 11:50 a.m.

And REPRESSIVE REPUBLICANS can't stand for elections to be democratic (big or small "d" allowed).. If they can't win an election fairly, then they want to restrict those allowed to vote to those who can AFFORD it (e.g., the cost and difficulty of obtaining a photo copy of an ID)..

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EmperorBush says... April 14, 2014 at 12:08 p.m.

Isn't it funny how Republicans claim there is voter fraud, but the only people who have been arrested are (wait for it) REPUBLICANS.
Oh wait: "it's OK if you're a Republican."

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NOTAGAIN says... April 14, 2014 at 12:25 p.m.

Does this mean the next time a republican tells me to get back in there and cast another ballet for them on election day I'll need a different ID?

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FreeSpiritMan says... April 14, 2014 at 1:28 p.m.

Po where is you statistics and source of illegal immigrants voting for free stuff as you put.
Now, a Po would have facts to back up mouth wouldn't he.

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Packman says... April 14, 2014 at 1:35 p.m.

Conservatives can only hope voter ID is a campaign issue this fall. Regular people have to show valid ID in everyday life and it is difficult for them to understand the big deal in securing a valid ID to vote. Of course, the only people whining about voter ID are those that are either too dumb, too lazy, or too illegal to get an ID and the politicians who depend on the votes of dummies, entitlement addicts, and illegals to stay in power. Voter ID is a winning issues for conservatives. Let's hope the aimee's of America keep pushing the debate to the forefront.

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3rdWorldState says... April 14, 2014 at 4:11 p.m.

Funny. Where there is no evidence the GOP goes full board. When there is mountains of evidence on a subject (choose any) the GOP doesn't believe it. You guys look sillier every time you write something.

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