The Arkansas Supreme Court has denied Secretary of State Mark Martin’s request that the high court force Circuit Judge Alice Gray to make a ruling on whether to block the state’s voter ID law “well in advance” of April 6. 

Gray has said she will rule before April 6, when the secretary of state must deliver ballots to military voters out of jurisdiction and overseas citizens voting by absentee ballot.  


A public interest lawsuit with Barry Haas as plaintiff and Jeff Priebe as his attorney asks Gray to enjoin use of the state’s new voter ID law in the primary elections set for May 22. The Arkansas Supreme Court held in a 2014 case (also argued by Priebe) that a previous version of the law was unconstitutional. The 2017 legislature altered the language in the law but the new lawsuit argues that it remains unconstitutional (the membership of the Supreme Court itself has changed quite a bit since the 2014 ruling).
Before the ruling, attorney David Couch filed a response on behalf of Judge Gray with the state high court today (link corrected). It argues that the secretary of state could have requested an expedited hearing as soon as it was served with the lawsuit on Feb. 8. It also says the April 6 deadline isn’t important to the matter at hand: “If the Act is declared unconstitutional, the ultimate remedy that would be granted to the Plaintiff would be to have his vote counted. Conversely, the Act is upheld their vote would not be counted.” That, of course, wouldn’t happen until May.