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Arkansas Voter ID Law: Allegations of Impediments & Disputes Between ACLU & Sec. of State

Sec. of State Mark Martin (R)
Secretary of State's Office

This week’s election marked the first statewide test of Arkansas’s new voter ID law and complaints are surfacing that poll workers incorrectly used IDs as an impediment to voting. ACLU of Arkansas Legal Director Holly Dickson said reports from around the state have been coming in since early voting began.

“Poll workers were not only being inconsistent in their enforcement or non-enforcement of the voter ID law but in some cases were overreaching and going outside the scope of the authority that the law gives them. They were basically pop quizzing voters about the information listed on any identification. That was not provided for in the voter ID law,” said Dickson.

Dickson continued, saying the ACLU has received reports from across the state about a variety of alleged violations.

“It doesn’t appear to be just an isolated incident. Not only are the quizzing of voters complaints coming in but we’re getting reports of some polling places using machine readable barcodes to try to verify identification and things of that nature. There again, that’s not provided for in the voter ID law and we have inconsistent treatment of voters across the state it appears,” said Dickson.

However, both the Secretary of State’s office and the state Board of Election Commissioners said they have not received a single complaint about the implementation of 2013’s voter ID act. But Board Director Justin Clay acknowledged the ACLU and others have received them.

“I don’t know that I have anything to say about it other than we did see the reports and out of an abundance of caution did remind our election administrators of what the processes are,” said Clay.

Dickson said the ACLU will file a complaint with the Board of Election Commissioners in the near future.

Jacob Kauffman is a former news anchor and reporter for KUAR.