Arkansas Voter ID Requirement Passes Senate

Feb 20, 2013

A bill that would require voters in Arkansas to show a valid picture ID when casting a ballot is moving to a House committee after the Senate passed it this Wednesday.

Senator Bryan King, a Republican from Green Forest, sponsored the bill. He says it will make voters more confident in the voting process.

“We know that photo ID is an everyday part of life, that you have to use a photo ID to get on a plane, you have to use a photo ID to get a library card, it’s just an everyday part of life,” King said.

Opponents of the law have said it will make voting harder for older and poor voters.

Senator Linda Chesterfield, a Democrat from Little Rock, likened the legislation to constraints put on voting during the days of Jim Crow.

“I suggest to you today that this is a backdoor poll tax, because it’s going to have to cost some money and I find it disingenuous to say we’re just going to leave it to the Secretary of State’s office,” Chesterfield said.

The bill says IDs would be provided free to those who don’t already have a valid government issued ID; but the bill allocates no funding. King says the Secretary of State’s office could provide the funds. The bill passed 23 to 12.