The Arkansas Blog alone wrote last night about improper implementation of the Voter ID law and it appears to have happened statewide.
On the jump, I will again repeat the statute that sets out precisely how the law is supposed to be implemented. To boil it down:
When a voter appears he or she is asked to state name, address and birthdate. A clerk checks to see that the information matches that on voter books. If a birthdate is different, a voter is asked to produce something to verify. If the address is different and still in the same precinct, a new registration card is completed. If not, the voter is directed to the proper precinct where a new card must be completed.
Then the voter signs the voter registration list in the precinct.
THEN AND ONLY THEN is the voter asked to produce a photo ID. Under procedures taught to workers in Pulaski County (and supposedly elsewhere) the photo ID is ONLY to verify that the name matches the voter list and that the photo on the ID is of the person presenting it.
What happened, all over Arkansas is that voters presented an ID and clerks all over Arkansas then held onto it and quizzed voters to see if they could correctly answer a quiz on what was contained there. Again, the photo ID is not for proof of birth date or address, it is for ID of bearer only.
I voted in the Democratic primary at Temple Baptist Church, Springdale, Arkansas. I was asked many questions. The little old lady was pleasant and I was nice to her but I was asked to specifically mention that the word "Place" was in my street address in addition to the street name, etc.
FROM OAK GROVE
I am writing to inform you that I was quizzed on my date of birth after providing ID at the Graves Memorial Baptist Church polling location in Oak Grove, AR.
The illegal quiz happened to my wife and me in Phillips County.
They took my photo ID and then asked for information.
I was quizzed about my name, address and birthdate while the election volunteer held my license where I couldn't see it. Is that also part of the photo ID law? I mean, my drivers license does have my photo right there on the front... Are we testing for fake IDs now, too?
FROM LITTLE ROCK
I was asked address and birthday after showing ID. I actually took it out and laid it on the table. She was holding while asking me questions. I voted at Immanuel Baptist. For the record, I'm a Republican who feels voter ID is unconstitutional and legislation is not enough to require voter ID. I think only a constitutional amendment could so that.
FROM HOT SPRING COUNTY
"In Hot Spring County, I dropped 4 picture ID's on the desk, to include passport, retired military ID, concealed carry permit and AR driver's license, as well as my voter registration card. The officials laughed and said oh we get a choice, however one official said "All I want is the driver's license, because my machine reads the bar code," which of course I cannot read and may very well have identifying information such as party, religious preferences and other background information not relevant to my citizenship but could very easily be used to cull out undesirable voters. She proceeded to ask me several questions which had nothing to do with my skin color or registration status. I almost balked and made a snarky remark but my wife knew what was coming and grabbed my elbow. Next time I will present my passport and cause a commotion. I also intend writing my reps, newspapers and on-line forums objecting strongly to the flawed implementation of a thinly-disguised disenfranchisement."
This is wrong. The secretary of state, nominal overseer of state elections, confirmed for me yesterday afternoon that the procedure set out in the law is the law. The photo ID is only to match face and name not the takeoff point for a quiz that can disqualify a voter who gives wrong answers.
The ACLU, which is waging a lawsuit against the Voter ID law, has taken note and is looking into the matter.
County clerks, the state Election Commission and others need to get involved — now. There's an adequate procedure in the law to check birthday and address. Plus, many voters reported this added much more time to the process, a problem in the general election.
It seems suspicious to me that this process was used in so many places. Coincidence? Or a further suppression tool?
7-5-305. Requirements. [Contingent effective date.]
(a) Before a person is permitted to vote, the poll worker shall:
(1) Request the voter to identify himself or herself in order to verify the existence of his or her name on the precinct voter registration list;
(2) Request the voter, in the presence of the poll worker, to state his or her address and state his or her date of birth;
(3) Determine that the voter's date of birth and address are the same as those on the precinct voter registration list;
(4) If the date of birth given by the voter is not the same as that on the precinct voter registration list, request the voter to provide identification as the poll worker deems appropriate;
(5) (A) If the voter's address is not the same as that on the precinct voter registration list, verify with the county clerk that the address is within the precinct.
(B) If the address is within the precinct, request the voter to complete a voter registration application form for the purpose of updating county voter registration record files.
(C) If the address is not within the precinct:
(i) Verify with the county clerk's office the proper precinct; and
(ii) Instruct the voter to go to the polling site serving that precinct in order for his or her vote to be counted;
(6) If the voter's name is not the same as that on the precinct voter registration list, request the voter to complete a voter registration application form for purposes of updating county voter registration record files;
(7) Request the voter, in the presence of the poll worker, to sign his or her name, including the given name, middle name or initial, if any, and last name in the space provided on the precinct voter registration list. If a person is unable to sign his or her signature or make his or her mark or cross, the poll worker shall enter his or her initials and the voter's date of birth in the space for the person's signature on the precinct voter registration list;
(8) (A) (i) Except as provided in subdivisions (a)(8)(A)(ii) and (a)(8)(B)(ii) of this section, request the voter for purposes of identification to provide proof of identity.
(ii) (a) A person who is a resident of a long-term care or residential care facility licensed by the state is not required to provide proof of identity before voting.
(b) A person not required to provide proof of identity under subdivision (a)(8)(A)(ii)(a) of this section shall provide documentation from the administrator of the facility attesting that the person is a resident of the facility.
(B) (i) If a voter is unable to provide this proof of identity, the poll worker shall:
(a) Indicate on the precinct voter registration list that the voter did not provide proof of identity; and
(b) Permit the voter to cast a provisional ballot.
(ii) When a voter is unable to provide proof of identity, the voter and the election official shall follow the procedure under § 7-5-321.
(iii) A first-time voter who registers by mail without providing identification when registering and desires to vote in person but who does not meet the identification requirements of § 7-5-201(e) may cast a provisional ballot.
(iv) Following each election, the county board of election commissioners may review the precinct voter registration lists and may provide the information of the voters not providing proof of identity at the polls to the prosecuting attorney.
(v) The prosecuting attorney may investigate possible voter fraud;
(9) Record the voter's name or request the voter to print his or her name on the list-of-voters form;
(10) Follow the procedures under §§ 7-5-310 and 7-5-311 if the person is a voter with a disability and presents himself or herself to vote; and
(11) Permit the person to cast a provisional ballot if the person received an absentee ballot according to the precinct voter registration list.
(b) A person not listed on the precinct voter registration list may vote only in accordance with § 7-5-306.