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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


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LSS says... April 16, 2014 at 6:53 p.m.

Can we vote back in lynching then can we lynch the ACLU?? Tar and feather them then !!!

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Packman says... April 16, 2014 at 9:22 p.m.

The only people whining about voter ID laws are those that are too lazy, too dumb, or too illegal to get an ID, and the people that need these "votes" to get elected. Is anyone surprised ACLU supports sloth, ignorance, and irresponsibility of the highest level?

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FarmBoy says... April 16, 2014 at 9:30 p.m.

I agree it would let illegal aliens and dead people the right to vote. You should be a citizen or alive to be able to vote. You have to have an ID to do about anything. How do they get food stamps, SSI or medicare without an ID. I have to have an ID to drive, pick up medicine, go to the Dr.. How do these people do any of this. I have heard for a long time about the dead voting. I saw in the paper where someone voted for Obama 4 times and told someone and got caught. ACLU GO AWAY

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Reason says... April 16, 2014 at 10:02 p.m.

Making sure that "dead people" can't vote is the responsibility of the Secretary of State and the county clerks.
jfish: Bill Clinton never endorsed voter ID. He supports photo ID's on social security cards.

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3rdWorldState says... April 16, 2014 at 10:08 p.m.

You don't need a license to buy a gun through the paper, or online. isn't voting a right? Why do you want zero restrictions on one right, but want many on another? Hmmmm sounds a little hypocritical. I'm sorry, I forgot who I was talking to here.
Maybe we should require a 12 grade reading level? That would take out the wing nuts on this thread.

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Reason says... April 16, 2014 at 10:18 p.m.

Farmboy: Heard/read that somebody voted 4 times. Ummmm.... Amazing how existing laws caught this and the votes were NOT counted. Did that part just fly over your head or did you really think those votes counted?

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GrimReaper says... April 16, 2014 at 10:22 p.m.

Typical obstructionism inspired by Democrats and carried out by one of their Left wing constituent groups. It will be interesting to see if our Democrat governor and attorney general will defend the rights of the citizenry of Arkansas. There could be a silver lining in this might make Brummy's job even more difficult.
And pay no attention to BS Boy. He's full of.......................BS!

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Capitalist12 says... April 16, 2014 at 10:27 p.m.

One must show an ID to open a bank account, board a plane, to drive a vehicle, and even to identify oneself to police. Now our representatives, whom we have elected, have finally put this simple requirement on voting. Only an illegal voter or their representative could object. There is no logical argument against a voter ID because one can easily attain an ID if one so desires.
What would these people do if they could not cash their taxpayer-funded check for lack of an ID? They would get one. The same effort could be used to get an ID for voting.

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KCSAP says... April 17, 2014 at 5:57 a.m.

If you disagree with voter ID then you can only be from another galaxy. What more important issue is there to a democracy than 1 person, 1 vote. I equate this partisan noise to the so called "war on women." Here is thought to aid the libs in their global warming concerns; the EPA should start charging for excessive CO2 emissions for blathering these nonsensical issues just to cover-up the mess they have made of this country over the last 5 years.

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Reason says... April 17, 2014 at 6:32 a.m.

1 person, 1 vote is already the law of the land.
Making it difficult for citizens to do that is GOP's way of stealing an election.

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