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story.lead_photo.caption Rep. Mark Lowery, R-Maumelle, closes for his bill dealing with creation of new school districts in the House chamber at the Arkansas state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark., Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015. (Associated Press / Danny Johnston )

One lawmaker wants to resurrect the requirements of a voter identification bill that was struck down by the Arkansas Supreme Court in 2014.

Rep. Mark Lowery, R-Maumelle, filed a bill Tuesday that would require voters to show a document or identification card to verify their registration.

"I think it's important to protect the integrity of the ballot," he said in an interview. "There are a lot of instances in our day-to-day life where photo ID is required, and it just seems to me to not be so big a stretch to say that something as important as a vote be verified by photo ID."

Lowery said he believes the bill would hold up to a legal argument if it is passed by a two-thirds supermajority.

"The main thing I did when asking the staff attorneys to write it was to take a look at the Supreme Court ruling and write it in such a way that it deals with those objections," he said.

In 2013, the Legislature passed a voter identification bill sponsored by Sen. Bryan King, R-Green Forest.

The Arkansas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union then sued. The group contended that such laws adversely affect the elderly, the poor and members of minority groups in the state.

The lawsuit went to the Arkansas Supreme Court. At the time, four of the court's justices said the law added a qualification to the voter qualifications long enshrined in the state's constitution. According to Article 3, Section 1 of the Arkansas Constitution, in order to vote, Arkansans need only be older than age 18, U.S. citizens, Arkansas residents and properly registered to vote.

The requirement that voters present identification at the polls was tantamount to a fifth qualification, according to an opinion written by Justice Donald Corbin.

Corbin and three other justices said the voter-ID law "is unconstitutional on its face."

The voter-identification law was vetoed by Gov. Mike Beebe in March 2013, and lawmakers overrode his veto. Neither of those votes reached the two-thirds threshold.

"I think the main issue was the two-thirds vote, so we're going to take another run at it," Lowery said Tuesday.

He said critics of voter identification laws have overblown potential issues.

"I don't really buy the argument that disenfranchisement takes place because there are a large variety of IDs that can be accepted," he said.

Identifications that would be accepted include: driver's licenses, photo identification cards, concealed handgun carry licenses, passports, employee badges or identification documents, student identification cards issued by accredited Arkansas colleges and universities, United States military identification documents, public assistance identification cards and voter verification cards.

Read Wednesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.


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Archived Comments

  • BlueEyes
    December 13, 2016 at 4:46 p.m.

    It's not ID at the polling place we need, it's more stringent Voter Registration process that's needed. DMV "motor voter" registration is too easy - no proof of citizenship is required. DMV told me they just send the information to Secretary of States Office - but does anyone in that Office actually follow up to ensure people who registered to vote are legally eligble to vote? Do they even do a sampling? Illegal voter registration is the real issue that no one wants to talk about.

  • Happy1234
    December 13, 2016 at 5:51 p.m.

    This past election the polls at Mamoth Spring Arkansas illegally required an id.
    I have voted there often and the process was rather quick. This time the line was not much longer than usual but it took over an hour of standing in line to get to the ballot due to the slow checking of id.
    I am old as were most of the people in line. Several of us gave up.
    ID is okay but before it is instituted it would be wise to plan ahead so as not to slow the process down.
    Shame on Mammoth Spring for breaking the law.

  • odinson
    December 13, 2016 at 6:32 p.m.

    What a crock. You liars don't even have the guts to admit the truth. You want Jim Crow back. Have to stop those uppitys from voting. So scared the democrats might make a come back and throw you Christian talibanners into the 21st century kicking and screaming and scared you'll have to sit on the bus next to one of "them." Hypocrites! Man up and tell the truth!

  • tenpoint
    December 13, 2016 at 7:49 p.m.

    we need some kind of I D it would make it easier for the poll workers to check to see if you are elgable to vote. No one that is not an AMERICAN CITIZEN SHOULD BE ABLE TO VOTE.

  • GrimReaper
    December 13, 2016 at 8:44 p.m.

    Most every post by odinson seems to drip with angry racism. Must be a very unhappy person.

  • carpenterretired
    December 13, 2016 at 8:52 p.m.

    Wonder if Saint Peter at the pearly gates will accept the photo IDs of this guy and the boys in the turnip truck?

    December 13, 2016 at 9:27 p.m.

    Can anyone tell me why the People Keep Electing Idiots for Legislators?? Why do the Legislators want to keep wasting State Money on Issues that have already been turned down by the Supreme Court?? Ignorant and or Stupid and probably Both, and to satisfy a few Mad Dog White Voters back Home, Put on your White Robe when you keep on trying to pass this kind of Crap. Do something worth while, something that will benefit People, Enough with the HATE AND DISSSENT. Grow a Set and act like a Real Man

    December 13, 2016 at 9:33 p.m.

    There is no wide spread Voter Fraud, None, Never has been, and never will be, and this is just to keep the OLD JIM CROW MAN alive and kicking, This is so Ignorant and Dumb, and so very easy to see through, Waste of time and Money because of ignorant Legislators that want to make sure the old Bigots see what they are trying to do, This is shameful, Pass good laws that help People and stop your Ignorant Grandstanding,

  • Reason
    December 13, 2016 at 11:23 p.m.

    Happy1234, election officials have NO right DEMANDING any ID at the polls. The Arkansas Constitution is clear on this matter and the Arkansas Supreme Court was clear. Poll workers say, "Well, the legislature passed a rule that we may ask for an ID but voters do not have to have an ID." But poll workers are NOT telling voters that they don't have to have an ID, they are demanding, harassing and intimidating the voters into handing over their ID and this is going on all across Arkansas. Before I show my ID they must first change the State Constitution.

    BlueEyes, have you ever read the Arkansas Constitution on voter registration?
    Try reading Amendment 51 starting on page 85 and on page 89:
    (C) The mail-in voter registration application form shall include the following statement:
    “If your voter registration application form is submitted by mail and you are registering for the first time, and you do not have a valid driver's license number or Social Security number, in order to avoid the additional identification requirements upon voting for the first time you must submit with the mailed registration form: (a) a current and valid photo identification; or (b) a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows your name and address.”
    (8) If an applicant for voter registration fails to provide any of the information required by this section, the permanent registrar shall notify the applicant of the failure and provide the applicant with an opportunity to complete the form in a timely manner to allow for its completion before the next election for federal office.
    (9) The mail voter registration application shall be pre-addressed to the Secretary of State.

  • 3WorldState1
    December 14, 2016 at 8:39 a.m.

    I think there should be a special badge that all voters should have. Maybe we could only make it available in Washington state. After an exhaustive 100 question quiz on our country's history. If not this stringent, then apparently no one cares about the sanctity of our votes. And then the next person, proving they are the true believer, could pass a bill to move to Alaska. Just to one-up me.
    When the poor fights for the rich. Countries end.