"We plan to defend the voter ID law that the legislature put in place to the fullest extent possible."
As you may have heard, the Arkansas Supreme Court struck down Act 595 yesterday. Act 595 is the Voter ID bill that required voters to show a Photo ID prior to casting a ballot. My assumption at this time is that the law will go back to as it was prior to January 1, 2014. That means that only first time voters would be required to show ID, as you did in 2012. Our legal offices are currently reviewing the ASC decision at this time, and I will follow this email with additional information for you concerning the legal aspect for clarification. I have attached a copy of the Opinion for your reading pleasure.
I hope you are all well and look forward to Early Voting beginning Monday.
Arkansas Secretary of State
A statement informing the individual that if the form is submitted by mail and theUPDATE: Chris Burks, a lawyer and member of the Pulaski County Election Commission, agrees with my reading:
individual is registering for the first time, a current and valid photo identification or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter, must be submitted with the mailed registration form in order to avoid the additional identification requirements upon voting for the first time;
I believe you are right. A.C.A. 7-5-305(a)(8)(B)(ii) reads "A first-time voter who registers by mail without providing identification when registering...." On the other hand, the SOS statement from this morning reads "That means that only first time voters would be required to show ID, as you did in 2012."
The Secretary of State Office's public and private communication on voter ID issues has been woefully inadequate. Last night the Secretary of State's office was even suggesting they would still "defend" the law, and were even going on background with reporters to suggest an "appeal." It is the height of irresponsibility to suggest anything other than following the law mandated by the highest authority- the Arkansas Supreme Court. In spite of the Secretary of State Office's statements, the Pulaski County Election Commission has a plan in place to instruct our poll workers on the appropriate law, and we look forward to a free and fair election.
The only time a first time voter had to show ID under the old law is if their identification wasn’t satisfactorily verified when they registered. All first time voters did not have to show ID under the old law and should not all have to show ID now – it should revert to the limited situation of applying only to those voters who did not provide sufficient information upon registration.
The ID requirement for 1st time voters is only for people who registered by mail under the federal motor voter law AND who did not provide a copy of their ID at that time AND who are voting for the first time. So folks who registered in person and provided an ID and are voting for the first time have already shown their ID and would not be required to do so prior to voting.
In Pulaski Co. and I assume every other Arkansas county the precinct voter registration books have a "Must Show ID" notation by the names of affected voters. That's so voter ID clerks now who must show an ID to vote a regular ballot. Is such persons fail to show an ID, they are issued a provisional ballot like any other other questionable voters.
I have worked as a poll worker for a dozen years or so, mostly at Parkway Place Baptist Church in west Little Rock, one of L.R.'s largest polling places with more than 4,500 eligible voters on our books. This "Must Show ID" requirement for this single class of voters has been in effect for years, and as poll workers we have been taught the above in poll worker training for years.