Arkansas Voters: New Voter ID Law Improperly Implemented

| by Jared Keever

Following Tuesday’s primary elections in Arkansas many voters have complained about implementation of the state’s new voter ID law. 

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas said they received numerous complaints from voters that poll workers “quizzed” them about information on their IDs. 

"It's not one or two specific locations, we're hearing about it in various locations around the state," Holly Dickson, legal director at ACLU of Arkansas, told Talking Points Memo. "There may have been a coordinated effort to have poll workers enforce the law this way — that remains to be seen, of course.”

Voters also wrote to the Arkansas Times complaining of such quizzes. Samples of the complaints were posted in a recent blog. 

“I was quizzed about my name, address and birthdate while the election volunteer held my license where I couldn't see it,” wrote one voter from Fayetteville. “Is that also part of the photo ID law? I mean, my drivers license does have my photo right there on the front... Are we testing for fake IDs now, too?”

Such quizzes are not part of the controversial new law. The primaries are the first time that the law has been in effect.

Poll workers are supposed to ask a voter for name, address and birth date. After the information is given, a prospective voter is to furnish his or her identification so the photograph and name can be matched to the voter. 

The complaints indicate that poll workers inverted the process by asking for ID then asking for the required information.

Justin Clay, the director of Arkansas' Board of Election Commissioners, said he had not heard any complaints and that workers had been properly trained.

"I can tell you that poll workers, from our perspective anyway, poll workers were trained on the correct process," he said.

Earlier this month Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox struck down the voter ID law, declaring it unconstitutional. The Associated Press reported last week that the Arkansas Supreme Court tossed out that ruling, saying that Fox didn't have the authority to do so. The court stopped short of ruling on the law’s constitutionality. All decisions on the matter were stayed, pending appeals, so the law remained in effect during Tuesday’s primaries.

Sources: Talking Points Memo, Arkansas TimesABC News (AP Story)