by Max Brantley
Republican Sen. Bryan King told Roby Brock he'll seek approval Thursday of his bill to suppress the vote of elderly, minority and other Democratic friendly constituencies in Arkansas.
He'll call it a voter ID bill. It is nothing less than an attack on voter rights.
Studies everywhere show voter ID laws have the effect desired by Republican sponsors — depression in turnout by voters who trend Democratic. Many people don't have IDs. Many people don't have the wherewithall to get them. The ability to vote under challenge is meaningless because of the hoops that must be cleared to get a challenged ballot counted. There is virtually no evidence of in-person voter fraud in Arkansas or the rest of the country. Absentee misdeeds, which have indeed occurred, are not affected by voter ID bills.
Given the majority Republican makeup of the legislature, the bill will pass. They've fallen to court challenges in other states. The improper aims are no different here. They've also had the effect in other states of stirring up those targeted for suppression and renewing their vigor to participate. See the presidential election of 2012. Arkansas is heading with the rest of the South to be a country for old angry white men. Short term, it's a great strategy for GOP dominance. Long-term, the demographers say it's not so hot.