A request for a preliminary injunction was filed today in the lawsuit challenging the state’s new voter ID law as an unconstitutional impairment on the right to vote in Arkansas. The state Constitution prohibits new impairments and provides no power, as some other jurisdictions do, for legislative changes.

Jeff Priebe, lawyer for the plaintiffs, said they’d be irreparably harmed if unable to vote in the May primary for lack of ID or refusal to comply with the new requirement, a strategy being used nationally by Republicans to suppress votes of Democratic-leaning voters. He also said Arkansas court precedent indicates a strong chance of success. He noted the court’s invalidation of an oath law in the 19th century that required an oath to the U.S. Constitution, a measure aimed at Confederate sympathizers.


The lawsuit is being supported by the ACLU and the Arkansas Public Law Center, a nonprofit on whose board I sit. It names the secretary of state and state board of election commissioners.   It  will be considered by Judge Tim Fox.

The filing includes affidavits from plaintiffs who do not have photo IDs, birth certificates or other documents sufficient to be allowed to vote, though they are legally registered.


CORRECTION: I wrote originally that the Republican Party had intervened in this lawsuit. It has been given permission to intervene in a separate lawsuit related to interpretation of handling of absentee ballots under the Voter ID law.