Rep. Mark Lowery‘s bill to reinstate a voter ID requirement Arkansas today passed 74-21 in the House. It’s on to the Senate.
The bill would change Amendment 51 of the Arkansas constitution to require a voter to “verify his or her voter registration” on Election Day by presenting a government-issued photo ID (issued by the state, the U.S. government, or an accredited postsecondary school). The bill would create exceptions for residents of nursing homes and active duty military members and their spouses who submit absentee ballots.
Lowery said that people “do not trust the integrity of the ballot.” He claimed that Voter ID would increase voter turnout.
Rep. Clarke Tucker, speaking against the bill, said it still had constitutional problems. He noted that 1200 people were turned away from the ballot for not having an ID when the 2013 voter ID law was enacted, before the state Supreme Court overturned it. “That is not going to instill more confidence in the democratic process,” he said.
“What we’re talking about is the right to vote,” Tucker said. “It’s the most sacred right in a democracy.”
Rep. Bob Ballinger spoke for the bill. He expressed confidence that the state Supreme Court would uphold the law. “We got a new court and we got a new opportunity to establish what the law is,” he said.