, counsel for the ACLU of Arkansas
, has asked the state Board of Election Commissioners
and Secretary of State Mark Martin
to take steps to insure that Martin's "illegal" voter ID requirement for certain voters doesn't prevent the counting of those voters' ballots.
I wrote earlier today
of a complaint from the Pulaski County Election Commission
that the state's central voter file was sending notice to county election commissions to require a photo ID of people who'd transferred registration from one county to another. This is required only in a limited number of cases and not when a voter registered with a photo ID to begin with or when the voter had participated in the last election, Election Commissioner Chris Burks said.
So far, the secretary of state has offered no legal defense of the practice other than to say it had been followed for years, including by Martin's predecessors. The office claims the practice can prevent fraud. That was the same argument behind a voter ID law that the Arkansas Supreme Court invalidated because it presented new obstacles to voting not allowed in the Constitution. Voters may be asked for an ID on voting, but they do not have to produce it and meeting name, address and signature requirements is sufficient to vote.
Dickson wrote Martin:
RE: Illegal application of “must show ID” on poll books
Dear Secretary Martin and the Arkansas State Board of Election Commissioners:
Concerning the matter of Arkansas’s official list of registered voters containing illegal flags for “must show ID” it is our understanding that due to printing of electronic and paper poll books, virtually nothing can be done to correct this error for voters who are casting or who have cast their ballots in this election including on Election Day.
The Secretary should change these unlawful settings immediately and the Secretary and State Board to work together to:
1. Immediately issue a notice to all county clerks & election commissioners with a request that they notify poll workers that some voters have been erroneously marked for “must show ID” with reminders that: a. non-photo ID can be provided to satisfy the requirement and b. all voters flagged for “must show ID” should receive at least a provisional ballot.
2. Supply a correct list of voters who truly “must show ID” by law to the county boards of election commissioners post haste.
3. Notify county boards of election commissioners know that they are to count all provisional ballots except those marked as “must show ID” under the NVRA or the Arkansas Constitution.
Please review this matter immediately and advise us, the clerks, the boards, the poll workers and the public of the steps you are taking to address this and be sure all lawful votes are counted.
The Pulaski County commissions said as many as 3,000 voters in Pulaski County have been subjected to this improper procedure this year. It said it would take steps to insure that any voters made to file a provisional ballot would have that ballot counted on checking registration papers.
I have again asked the secretary of state's office if it intends to do anything about multiple complaints. It complains that those asking that the law be followed are influenced by partisan motives. Which is not an answer to the question.