As I said this morning when a House committee defeated one of the vote suppression agenda bills to eliminate early voting on the Monday before the election:
.. if the Republican Party bosses declare the vote suppression bill MUST pass, they have the votes.
And so it was: At a previously unscheduled meeting at 3:30 p.m. today during a House recess, the House State Agencies committee met again and this time voted 11-4 for vote suppression.
It took under nine minutes. Two people managed to appear to oppose the bills, from the League of Women Voters, which said it would affect everybody, and Indivisible Arkansas, which reiterated its position that a wide cross-section of Arkansas opposed the bill and NO ONE testified for it. A Republican county clerk from Benton County even made the trip to vote against it. “The process seems like it is not exactly incorporating citizenship input,” the spokesperson for Indivisible Arkansas, said. She also noted the bill never had five spoken votes for the bill in Senate committee, a representation of bipartisan opposition.
“Voting is for all Arkansans,” Loriee Evans said.
Rep. Justin Gonzales, sponsor, wasn’t present at the first vote. He said everybody should vote on election day. He won. Vote suppression won. More than 50,000 people who voted Monday in Arkansas in 2020 have to make another plan. But beware: The new absentee voter rules are punishing. And if you have to stand in line, don’t expect a bottle of water.
Reps. Meeks, Jean, Cozart, Payton, Ladyman, Gray, Beck, Speaks, Richmond, McCollum, Gonzales put it over.