I have received a response from Justin Clay, director of the state Board of Election Commissioners, to my query about the ACLU’s objection to Secretary of State Mark Martin’s apparently illegal programming of instructions on the computerized state voter file that puts a “MUST SHOW ID” notation on county voter records for voters who should not have to produce an ID under the law.

Martin’s office has refused to respond other than to say this is a continuation of a practice followed by previous officeholders and it is in the hands of lawyers. It’s irrelevant if an improper procedure was overlooked previously. Also, the matter is much more sharply in focus now because  a 2014 Supreme Court decision in which Martin was a defendant. It said additional qualifications could not be placed on voters that were not in the state Constitution.

Clay’s answer follows. It does not address the core question of whether anything will be done about the challenged  instruction in the state voter files. It is automatically being placed on voters who’ve moved from one county to another, though an ID is not required by law if the voter participated in the last election or showed a photo ID when registering, Pulaski Election Commissioner Chris Burks and ACLU counsel Holly Dickson have said.

The state board has not met to discuss or respond to the letter, and at present, no meeting of the board has been called. The commissioners have been provided a copy of the letter.

The board’s training materials, revised and sent to election officials on October 17th as a result of the AR Supreme Court’s decision on Act 595, outline the proper procedures for voters that have a “MUST SHOW ID” notation. Those materials include the following:

“MUST SHOW ID” Notation on the Precinct Voter Registration (PVR) List:

If the voter has a “MUST SHOW ID” notation by his or her name on the PVR List, the voter must provide ID. Valid forms of ID include:

a current and valid photo ID such as a driver’s license,
a copy of a current utility bill showing the voter’s name and address,
a copy of a bank statement showing the voter’s name and address,
a copy of a government check or paycheck showing the voter’s name and address, or
a copy of another government document showing the voter’s name and address.

If the voter provides ID, the poll worker checks the “ID Provided” box on the PVR List and gives the voter a regular ballot.

If the voter does not provide ID, the poll worker writes “No ID” next to the voter’s name on the PVR List and gives the voter a provisional ballot.

I would also encourage any voters to contact our office if they have questions about this or any other voting procedure. Please let me know if I can provide any additional information or clarification.

Thank you,

Justin Clay
Director, State Board of Election Commissioners