Good report yesterday from the AP’s Andrew Demillo on the Arkansas Republican Party‘s hope to take a role in the lawsuit over how to deal with absentee ballots under the state’s Voter ID law passed by the Republican-controlled legislature last year almost completely on partisan lines, overriding Gov. Mike Beebe‘s veto.
The GOP wants to assist in defending the state Board of Election Commissioners, which created a rule allowing absentee voters more time to show proof of ID, a “cure” not specified in the law.
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel previously issued an opinion stating that an absentee voter who fails to include the newly required proof of identification in a mail absentee has no opportunity to correct the omission. Secretary of State Mark Martin, meanwhile, has advised election commissions that absentee voters should have a means to present ID and get a challenged absentee vote counted, arguing that the law’s provision of a “cure period” for in-person voters shows an implicit intent to offer the same recourse for absentee voters. (I don’t understand the point of an ID provision for absentee ballots in the first place, since the voter isn’t there for an election official to check the picture against.)
The Pulaski County Election Commission filed suit earlier this month against the state Board of Election Commissioners, arguing that the board overstepped its authority when it followed Martin’s lead and adopted a rule that absentee votes without ID should be treated as provisional ballots, with the voter having until the Monday after the election to present ID.
State Republican Party chair Doyle Webb argued that McDaniel, a Democrat, was biased against Voter ID laws.
Said McDaniel: “This is not a partisan matter. This is about defending the actions of a state board, which is something my office does effectively every single day.”