Gary B.: Voter photo ID issue on November ballot

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Issue 2 on the November election ballot in Arkansas is the requirement of a photo identification in order to vote.

A “yes” vote supports the amendment and requires individuals to present valid photo ID to cast a ballot.

A “no” vote opposes this amendment. Issue 2 was proposed in response to the 2014 decision by the Arkansas Supreme Court striking down a voter photo ID statute — Senate Bill 2 — which was passed in 2013.  The court determined the statute created a fifth qualification for voting not found in the Arkansas Constitution, and as a result, overturned it.

In 2017, the State Legislature passed another voter ID state statute — House Bill 1047. That bill was designed to require election officials to ask to see a valid photo ID, but also provided an alternative. Voters who did not provide photo IDs could sign a sworn statement, and their votes would be counted following a comparison of the voter’s signature and the signature from his or her registration made by county officials after the election. On April 26 of this year, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Alice Gray ruled that House Bill 1047 was unconstitutional and granted a preliminary injunction against it.

The current Issue 2 voter ID amendment was referred to the voters basically along party lines.   70 of 76 Republicans and three of 24 Democrats supported the amendment in the State House of Representatives.  In the Senate, 23 of 26 Republicans and one of nine Democrats supported Issue 2.

If passed, Issue 2 would make presenting a Photo ID constitutionally required for voting and would prevent challenges to laws passed by the state legislature to establish voter photo ID requirements.

Where do other states stand?  17 require a photo voter ID. 16 states require another form of identification in order to vote.

To many other states, voter ID is seen as another restriction on the number of people who get to the polls to vote.  More can be found on Ballotpedia.org.

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Get up-to-date local and regional news along with the latest weather every weekday morning by listening to Gary B. and Ozark Newsline on Arkansas 103.3 KWOZ93 KZLE, and other W.R.D. Entertainment radio stations. If you have a news tip or event to promote, email White River Now at news@whiterivernow.com.

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