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ACLU challenges Arkansas voter ID law

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published April 16, 2014 at 2:01 p.m. Updated April 16, 2014 at 2:32 p.m.


ACLU of Arkansas legal director Holly Dickson, right, speaks on the steps of the Pulaski County Courthouse Wednesday about a lawsuit challenging the state's voter ID law while the organization's executive director, Rita Sklar, and cooperating attorney Jeff Priebe look on.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas is asking a judge to strike down a state law requiring voters to show photo identification before they can cast a ballot, arguing the new requirements violate the Arkansas constitution.

The ACLU on Wednesday filed a lawsuit in Pulaski County Circuit Court on behalf of four voters seeking to overturn the law, which was approved by the Republican-led Legislature last year. The law took effect this year, and its first statewide test will be the May 20 primary. The plaintiffs include a Pulaski County voter who refused to show ID during a March 11 local special election.

In a news conference announcing the lawsuit, ACLU of Arkansas legal director Holly Dickson said the law impairs voters and puts some without birth certificates or photo identifications in a "catch 22" situation in which they need one of those documents to obtain the other.

"The only purpose [the law] is serving is to place an artificial barrier between these voters and the ballot box," she said. "We think it clearly violates the letter and spirit of the Arkansas constitution."

The voters listed as defendants in the suit include a 34-year-old woman who moved to Arkansas after losing her photo ID and birth certificate in Hurricane Katrina; a 23-year-old woman who the ACLU says has tried without success to get an ID and a birth certificate; and a 78-year-old man who was never issued a birth certificate.

The suit was assigned to Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox. It's unclear when a hearing will be held, but the ACLU said it hopes to get a preliminary injunction issued quickly with a primary election scheduled next month.

"There's certainly permanent harm that will be done, that can't be undone, if one person is disenfranchised with this election," said ACLU of Arkansas executive director Rita Sklar.

Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe vetoed the voter ID measure last year, saying it would infringe on voters' rights. The Legislature overrode his veto with a simple majority.

Arkansas Online reporter Gavin Lesnick contributed to this report


Comments on: ACLU challenges Arkansas voter ID law

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Walter601 says... April 16, 2014 at 2:41 p.m.

Democrats don't want the dead to stop voting. Forget about the fact that you need photo ID for just about everything else. Do whatever it takes to keep the Dem wits in power.

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AmericasDoomed says... April 16, 2014 at 4:05 p.m.

Yep, voter fraud is what liberals depend on to win elections.

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FreeSpiritMan says... April 16, 2014 at 4:26 p.m.

Neither of you two conservatives can give numbers on voter fraud in Arkansas.
When you get them with some facts we may listen until then STFU about voter fraud.

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Dontcallmenames says... April 16, 2014 at 4:40 p.m.

I would like an amendment on the next ballot that outlaws the ACLU in our state.

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tawcat says... April 16, 2014 at 4:43 p.m.

I guess then we should challenge having to show a driver's license and proof of insurance when we are stopped by the police.

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Jfish says... April 16, 2014 at 4:57 p.m.

Lookout y'all, BillSmith is apparently wanting to limit free speech also. So we can send money to other countries to insure they they have photo ID's to prevent election fraud, but we sure don't want them here. How about this Bill, we have a country of over 300 million people and at least 10 million are residing here illegally. Even Bill Clinton is now saying it is a good idea (good move Bill, helping out Hillary there for 2016). So BillSmith, you don't have to STFU, you can respond now.

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mhck52 says... April 16, 2014 at 5:21 p.m.

How about quoting where this is covered in the state constitution. These three people don't drive or can't use a social security card to get a photo ID?

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SUPERDUTY says... April 16, 2014 at 5:29 p.m.

Hey tawcat, I see on all of the copy shows that blacks never have an ID, proof of insurance, or drivers license. That is who the American Communist Civil Union wants to protect. And the Democrats say, "vote early and vote often."

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DontDrinkDatKoolAid says... April 16, 2014 at 5:42 p.m.

One would think that it would be more cost effective to help to that have loss their information to help them get their information. How is that 788 year old man getting his SS?

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oldude says... April 16, 2014 at 5:54 p.m.


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