Further proof that the new Voter ID law is being misapplied and that the people in charge — from secretary of state on down — have done little about it.
To repeat: Multiple readers from across Arkansas told us in detail after the primary that election officials were using the required photo ID for a purpose not allowed by law. They were checking information on the photo ID (meant only for facial identification) to match against address and birthdate information on voter rolls. That is NOT supposed to happen. A voter is supposed to be asked questions about address verbally and, if there are discrepancies, a provisional ballot may be cast. The photo ID is only for facial identification.
The state Board of Election Commissioners, headed by Republican Secretary of State Mark Martin, has evinced little interest in this widespread problem. The same for Republican lawmakers who pushed the law as a vote suppression tool. Given the pittance that the legislature provided and Mark Martin has spent on education about the new law, it’s unsurprising that the process is being abused.
It’s still going on. A reader from Saline County who had problems in the primary reports on an early voting experience:
I’m writing in case you’re still interested in whether or not voters are being asked to produce an ID first and have their information checked against it. I early voted in Saline County this morning and was first asked to produce my ID. When I asked if I was not supposed to provide my name, address, and birthdate first, the poll worker was adamant about my ID until a fellow worker just stated “oh, just ask him for his name.” I provided my ID and was asked for my birthdate and address while the worker kept her eyes on my ID.
Obviously, it doesn’t make any difference when my ID is produced, but it is slightly disconcerting that the poll workers do not know the process that I saw reported by multiple news sources two weeks ago
No, it doesn’t matter when the ID is produced. Given the new requirement, it even hastens the process to produce it first. But that ID is NOT supposed to be checked by election workers and compared with voter rolls.
If anyone has trouble getting or casting a ballot as a result of questions about mismatches between voter roll information and photo ID, please drop me — or the ACLU — a line. It’s illegal.