Fierce Debate Precedes Passage Of Voter ID Bill In House

Mar 13, 2013

Rep. Stephen Meeks presents Voter ID bill before the Arkansas House.

After a series of impassioned arguments for and against, the Arkansas House today passed a bill that would require all voters to show some form of photo I.D. each time they vote. The bill received 51 yeas to 44 nays.

There were questions as to whether the bill required a two-thirds majority to pass as some had suggested it might be a change to the state's constitution.

Republican Representative Stephen Meeks of Greenbrier speaking before the house brandished a list of documented voter fraud cases, and told members this bill does not implement a poll tax. He also said the state would ensure anyone who needed an i.d. would be able to get one at no cost.

Speaking against, Representative Darrin Williams of Little Rock, a Democrat, said the bill would make it harder for people to vote, despite their determination to do so.“There are far too many people who are elderly, who are poor, who suffer from not driving, who don’t have transportation who may have a hard time fulfilling the requirements in the bill to vote,” said Williams

Republican Representative Ann Clemmer of Benton, speaking for the bill, disagreed vehemently that it was intended to suppress voter turnout.“To assume that elected representatives come before you today to keep people from is horrifying to me that anyone in this room believes that about me or anyone else,” said Clemmer.

The amended bill will now have to be re-approved by the Senate before it goes to the Governor.