The ACLU of Arkansas, gathering public records in 60 counties, says a new voter ID law being pushed through the Republican-dominated legislature would disenfranchise thousands of voters, based on 2020 records.
That, of course, is the idea.
Said the ACLU:
The ACLU of Arkansas released an analysis today showing that new voting restrictions being considered by the Arkansas General Assembly would disenfranchise thousands of Arkansas voters who lack a government-issued photo ID. House Bill 1112 would take away the ability of voters who lack a photo ID to cast a provisional ballot after signing a sworn affidavit attesting to their identity. In the November 2020 election, at least 2,577 eligible voters were able to cast a ballot that was validated and counted using this option.
In response to public records requests, the ACLU of Arkansas has obtained information from more than 60 counties and identified more than 2,577 instances where eligible voters who lacked a photo ID but were able to cast a ballot that counted by signing an affidavit. Previous studies have shown that voters of color, elderly voters, and those who are low-income are more likely to lack a government-issued photo ID.
“For our elections to be truly free and fair, every eligible voter must have equal access to the ballot – but this bill would prevent thousands of eligible voters from exercising their right to vote,” said Holly Dickson, ACLU of Arkansas executive director. “We all want safe and secure elections, but disenfranchising low-income and elderly voters and voters of color will only undermine the democratic process. Again, no one has identified any Arkansas voter alleged to have done anything unlawful by voting or trying to vote without a photo ID. We urge the state Senate to reject this harmful bill and work together on solutions that will safeguard and elections and strengthen our democracy – not undermine it.”
More than 1,500 such ballots were cast in Pulaski County.
The ID problem runs deeper. Many people who failed to sign the affidavit cast provisional ballots because they didn’t produce an ID. The law allowed them to cure the ballot by presenting an ID to the county clerk or election by Monday following the election. Many, for whatever reason, were unable to do so, whether lacking a valid ID or lacking transportation or mobility. This will continue to depress votes in future elections if Rep. Mark Lowery’s proposed legislation is passed, which seems certain. Vote suppression is a core objective of the Republican Party nationally.