Arkansas High Court Strikes Down State Voter ID Law

Oct 15, 2014

The Arkansas Supreme Court

Arkansas' highest court has unanimously struck down a state law that requires voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot.

The state Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a lower court ruling that called the law unconstitutional because it adds an additional qualification for voting.

The Republican-led Legislature approved the voter ID law last year, overriding a veto by Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe, and it took effect Jan. 1.

A Pulaski County judge struck down the law in May but suspended his ruling pending appeal.

Arkansas is among a handful of states where voter ID requirements have been in limbo. Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed new restrictions to take effect in North Carolina but blocked Wisconsin's voter ID requirement.

Opponents of the Arkansas law are praising the ruling.

Holly Dickson, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas, which sued over the law, said they're "thrilled."

Dickson called the law "an unconstitutional barrier that has already stolen legitimate voting rights."

The sponsor of the law, Republican state Sen. Bryan King, says he's disappointed with the court's ruling. He says he said he didn't believe the oral arguments before the court gave supporters enough time to make their case for the law, which he says protects the integrity of elections.

Early voting begins Monday for Arkansas' Nov. 4 election.