Plaintiff explains his opposition to the Voter ID law | Arkansas Blog

Plaintiff explains his opposition to the Voter ID law


Recommended reading: An interview by Equal Voice News with Barry Haas, the Air Force veteran and long-time poll worker who is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit challenging the Voter ID law as unconstitutional.

Haas has an ID but refused to produce it at a recent special election because he thought the new requirement was unconstitutional. He cast a provisional ballot, but it wasn't counted because he wouldn't produce an ID.

He explained his opposition:

When this voter ID bill got dropped in the hopper, I took offense that it had the stated goals of dealing with a non-existent voter impersonation issue. That’s where someone goes in and pretends to be someone else and vote in someone else’s place.

It’s non existent because when the sponsors of the legislation were asked for examples, they could not come up with one single example.

.... Some lawmakers said it would deal with voter fraud, and it improves the integrity of the process. But it potentially causes problems for tens of thousands of Arkansas voters.

What I did last year, I called the Arkansas Department of Motor Vehicles to find out how many people had driver’s licenses and who were 18 and older and I compared those figures. About 80,000 Arkansasans did not have a driver’s license.

Keep in mind that people are registered to vote. They have been voting for many years. On May 20, they will go to the polls and not have the approved form of ID. If they cannot provide one by noon on the Monday following the election, their vote will not count.

Haas disagrees with those who say there are alternatives.

The voter ID bill here requires the state to issue a free photo ID to voters who don’t have one. But that free photo ID is only provided at county seats.

If constituents lack a driver’s license and had to drive to the county seat, they would need someone to drive them. Some have to drive 100 miles round trip.

And then they have to get documentation, like a copy of their birth certificate. They have to prove who they are so they can vote.

I liken it to a 2014 poll tax.

You’re talking about people who don’t have resources. You’re forcing them to clear a hurdle that is very expensive.

Said Haas:

"Sometimes, you have to put your name out there if you believe in something strongly enough. You hope that it makes positive change for your fellow citizens...These voter ID laws are designed to reduce the number of eligible voters. I am in favor of lawmakers finding ways to increase the number of voters, not to discourage.”

Haas believes that the law was designed by Republicans to discourage voting by constituencies that lean Democratic. Republican officials have admitted as much.

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