Friday, May 23, 2014

Real people lose their vote thanks to Voter ID law

Posted By on Fri, May 23, 2014 at 7:21 AM

VOTE DENIED: Eddie Rodgers learned from KARK reporter that votes cast by him and his wife in two elections didn't count.
  • VOTE DENIED: Eddie Rodgers learned from KARK reporter that votes cast by him and his wife in two elections didn't count.

Marci Manley of KARK reports here
 on some of the real people whose vote didn't count in Tuesday's primary election because they didn't comply with the 2013 law requirement that an ID be included with mailed absentee ballots. She talked with an older black couple, a demographic that I suspect figured prominently in the 80 percent disqualification rate in St. Francis County (just as Republicans hoped in passing the law.)

Eddie and Dorothy Rodgers distinctly recalled a time of horses and carts and a time when they didn't have the right to vote.

"There was once upon a time we weren't allowed — it wasn't counted," Dorothy Rodgers said. "It was just like being ignored, being unimportant. "

The Rodgers said they have faithfully voted, and for the past few years, they've done so by absentee ballots.

"I did get a letter talking about how we would need to provide ID but I didn't pay it much attention," Eddie Rodgers said. "For so many years of voting and not having an issue. Why would they go and change it now."

On Thursday, the Rodgers found out the votes they had cast in the primary election didn't count because they didn't include the necessary Voter ID paperwork.

Their votes didn't count two months ago during the Pulaski Tech millage election, either. But they had no idea because the law doesn't require them to be notified.

"You didn't know until we called you?" we asked them.

"We didn't get a call. Right," Eddie said.

The Pulaski County Election Commission decided, though the law doesn't require it, to notify disqualified voters in hopes of approving the compliance rate. The knowledge will do little to remove hurdles for people without a valid ID to get to the county clerk to obtain one.

The Election Commission also instructed its officials to correct abuse of the Voter ID law that occurred in Pulaski County and elsewhere Tuesday. Election workers are illegally comparing photo IDs with voter books to check address and birthdate. That's not the procedure for checking that information set out in law. A Democrat-Gazette article made a mention that there was no idea if this had happened elsewhere in the state. As I've reported here, it happened repeatedly in every corner of the state. Voters also reported an inability to get the legally required provisional ballot when they didn't have a photo ID as the law required.

Good job, Arkansas Republican Party. The suppression law is working exactly as intended. The subjectiveness of voter challenges and withholding of provisional ballots, I'm sure, would never be affected by biases of poll workers.

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