Voter suppression passes | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Voter suppression passes

Posted By on Wed, Mar 13, 2013 at 1:01 PM

The House Rules Committee said today that Sen. Bryan King's bill to require voter ID did not require a supermajority vote in the Senate, as Rep. Jim Nickels had argued. The ruling sends the bill back to the House, where it's sure to pass.

UPDATE: Our correspondent, James Owen, reports it was a party-line vote, 8-7, to send the bill on to the House.

UPDATE II: The word on Twitter is that a House recess minutes ago was for Republicans because they didn't have enough votes. Recess is over and the bill is before the House. Rep. Stephen Meeks is presenting it and, like every other time the bill has been presented, Hudson Hallum's name has been invoked. Even though his case had nothing to do with voter impersonation.

Nice line of questioning from Rep. David Kizzia (D-Malvern), who noted that a concealed carry permit is an acceptable form of ID under the bill. Doesn't that go against the spirit of the concealed carry permit exception from the FOIA? he asked. Why would we ask gun owners to reveal their identities?

Rep. John Walker offers an emotional stemwinder against the bill. "Most of you here don't have my color or my history. You've never been deprived the right the vote. You've never endured an impediment to voting."

Passing the bill would send a message to "black legislators that we are not really your peers and our people are not your peers," he said.

Rep. David Meeks tweets, "More inappropriate remarks by Rep John Walker from the well. This is 2013."

Rep. Darrin Williams takes to the well to speak against the bill, citing his mother, who lived until she was 86 and never had a driver's license, as someone would have been among those disenfranchised. He paired that with a lot of statistics, like that African Americans are 20 percent less likely to have an ID. "The right to vote is more than a privilege. It truly is a right."

Rep. Ann Clemmer takes to the floor to lament that Democrats call the bill a voter suppression tactic. "When I came before you with another controversial bill, I didn't call those who didn't support it baby killers."

The bill passes on a party line vote, 51-44. Shameful. Correction, Rep. Walls McCrary of Lonoke joined the Republicans. Here's the vote tally.

UPDATE: Apparently, McCrary changed his vote when the vote was sounded.

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