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Friday, January 24, 2014

Election commissioner wants to address Voter ID law problems

Posted By on Fri, Jan 24, 2014 at 11:26 AM

click to enlarge CHRIS BURKS
  • CHRIS BURKS
Chris Burks, a member of the Pulaski County Election Commission, said he's asked for the commission to discuss at a meeting next Thursday the problems arising from implementation of the new Voter ID law pushed through the legislature by Republicans. Burks is a Democrat.

The secretary of state and state Election Commission already are in conflict on whether absentee voters who fail to submit ID must be given a chance to produce an ID within a week after the election. That opportunity was provided recently in a special election in Craighead County, but few took advantage.

Burks wonders, as I do, whether the new Voter ID law conflicts with the state Constitution's prohibition on adding additional obstacles to voting.

And he wonders, in light of a court decision in Pennsylvania striking down a Voter ID law, if someone other than a voter, such as the Election Commission itself, could be a plaintiff in a lawsuit over the law's impact.

Worthy questions. I think the law is unconstitutional. The ACLU and the Arkansas Public Law Center are committed to legal action to test the question. Perhaps that could happen sooner rather than later.

Burks says he'll ask the Election Commission to seek an attorney general's opinion on various questions related to the law.

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