Politics

Voter ID Supporter Asa Hutchison Forgets To Bring His ID To The Polls

| by Jared Keever

Republican candidate for governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson, was turned away from the polls Tuesday after he forgot to bring his identification with him.

Hutchinson supports a controversial voter ID law in the state that requires voters to show proof of identification before casting a ballot. Christian Olson, a spokesman for his campaign, told the Associated Press a staffer was able to retrieve the candidate’s ID and bring it to him while he waited at the polling place. 

Olson said Hutchinson thought the situation was a “little bit of an inconvenience” but still believes the law is necessary.

The Republican-controlled legislature approved the law last year but it was vetoed by Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe who said it “unnecessarily restricts and impairs our citizens’ right to vote.” The legislature overrode the veto.

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Democrats believe the law impairs the ability of poor minorities and students to vote. Voters without IDs must cast provisional ballots and declare themselves too “indigent” to afford identification with the county clerk.

Last month Circuit Court Judge Timothy Fox struck down the law after it was challenged by the Pulaski County Election Committee and the ACLU of Arkansas. According to MSNBC Fox ruled the law “unconstitutional as it adds additional qualifications for voters” beyond what’s in the constitution, and “impairs the right of suffrage” contained in the constitution.

The judge cited an 1865 ruling by the state Supreme Court that overturned an 1864 law aimed at preventing those who still supported the Confederacy from voting.

Fox suspended his ruling, a decision which meant the law would stay in effect during the May primaries. 

Following Fox’s ruling, Aaron Sadler, a spokesman for Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, said there would be an appeal.

“We just received the Court’s decision and are in the process of reviewing it,” he said. “The State Board of Election Commissioners has already contacted us requesting an appeal and we will work as quickly as possible on the board’s behalf to appeal this decision.” 

It is unclear what, if any, effect the law had on the primary elections.

Hutchinson won his primary. He will face Democrat Mike Ross in the November general election according to local CBS affiliate KOLR.

Sources: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (AP Story), MSNBC, KOLR