LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KARK) — The Arkansas Supreme Court today reversed a circuit court ruling that the current voter ID law was unconstitutional. That means voter ID is in effect for November’s election.
The court voted 5-2 to reverse Judge Mackie Pierce’s ruling that the current voter ID law added an unconstitutional additional barrier to voting. The court majority opinion, written by Justice Robin Wynne, accepted the state’s argument that the rule was a permissible change to the part of the Constitution pertaining to voter registration, though the Constitution says only that someone must be a citizen, aged 18 and registered to vote.
Barry Haas, who challenged the rule, said the ID provision resurrected the registration requirement each time a person votes.
Chief Justice Dan Kemp and Justice Jo Hart dissented. The dissent said the law was not germane to Amendment 51, the registration amendment.
The Supreme Court struck down an earlier voter ID law, but membership in the court has changed and the previous law clearly didn’t meet the vote threshold for amending the registration portion of the Constitution. This law did.
Voters will consider a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment this year that will toughen the voter ID requirement. Under current law, a voter can refuse to produce an ID and cast a provisional ballot, that might later be counted.
(The Arkansas Times contributed to this report)