ACLU of Arkansas Files Suit Against Voter ID Law

Apr 16, 2014

ACLU's Rita Sklar (stock photo)
Credit Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

The state’s 2013 voter ID law is being challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas and the Arkansas Public Law Center. The lawsuit argues the act presents an unconstitutional barrier to voting.

ACLU’s Executive Director Rita Sklar said the law targets populations with poor access to resources.

“It’s easy to see that these kind of laws are targeted at disenfranchising a certain group of people and it’s people that some people don’t want to vote. It’s that simple. The poor, people of color, the elderly, people they don’t think will vote for them. Why else make it harder for them when there is not a problem,” said Sklar.

Advocates for the law say the intent is not to disenfranchise voters but to protect the voting process from fraud. Sponsors of the legislation have said a range of IDs are acceptable and the requirement is not too difficult a burden for voters.

But Sklar contends the act puts “more burden on the voter than Arkansas’s constitution permits.”

“This law is a solution to a non-existent problem and it only creates more trouble for people who have been voting all their lives. It throws hurdles in front of them instead of making it easier to participate in the democratic process,” said Sklar.

The suit, which is filed on behalf of four voters the ACLU said will be impacted by the law, names secretary of state Mark Martin and the State Board of Election Commissioners as defendants. The ACLU is seeking a preliminary injunction and hopes to strike the law down before it can affect the primary and general election.