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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

ACMD POLITICS: Arkansas Supreme Court strikes down voter ID law

The Arkansas Supreme Court struck down the state’s voter ID law Wednesday evening, the Associated Press reported, meaning it won’t be in effect for the impending midterm elections.
A county judge barred the law’s enforcement in April, finding it violates the state constitution, but the order was stayed. Even though the lower court declared the law unconstitutional, it remained in effect and caused chaos and confusion at the polls during Arkansas’s May 20 primary.
There were two challenges to the law, one from the Pulaski County Election Commission and another from the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas
“We are thrilled that all legitimate Arkansas voters are going to retain their fundamental right vote in the upcoming election,” said Rita Sklar, executive director of the Arkansas ACLU.
Election law expert Rick Hasen, a professor at the University of California at Irvine, said in a blog post the ruling was a “big win for opponents of voter ID.” But he also noted there are “no obvious federal constitutional issues in this case, so the chances of U.S. Supreme Court review of this case are quite small.”
The law was approved last year by Arkansas’ GOP-controlled legislature, but it was vetoed by Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, who said it “unnecessarily restricts and impairs our citizens’ right to vote.” Lawmakers then overrode Beebe’s veto.
The court’s order Wednesday has implications for the midterm elections. The state is hosting a crucial Senate race, which could help determine which party has control of the upper chamber of Congress.

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