Sen. Bryan King, a longtime crusader for enacting restrictions for ballot access, filed a senate joint resolution on Wednesday to refer a constitutional amendment to voters that would impose Voter ID.
The legislature is already set to pass a bill mandating Voter ID. That bill, sponsored by Rep. Mark Lowery, was passed 74-21 in the House earlier this week and is now working its way through the senate.
A previous Voter ID bill from the legislature was overturned by the state Supreme Court as unconstitutional. Lowery’s bill, however, may still bring up constitutional questions, though its backers believe that it will pass muster given the new makeup of the Court. During debate on the House floor, Rep. Bob Ballinger expressed confidence that the law would be upheld: “We got a new court and we got a new opportunity to establish what the law is.”
King, however, wants to make absolutely certain. Under new rules this year, the Senate State Agencies committee can recommend one referred constitutional amendment, which then must be approved by the House and Senate. Senate leadership appears to want to put tort reform to the front of the line. There is one other possibility: In addition to the proposed amendment chosen by the House and Senate committees, the General Assembly can choose to refer a third with a two-thirds vote of the House and Senate.
King told the D-G, without evidence, that there was no question that voter fraud was a major problem in Arkansas. He said that the system set up by Democrats was rigged (Republicans now dominate control of state and county government and election commissions). And, for old times sake, he brought up the chicken-and-vodka story, which has nothing to do with IDs.