House committee approves vote suppression amendment | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

House committee approves vote suppression amendment

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 12:32 PM

click to enlarge REP. ROBIN LUNDSTRUM: Sponsored the Voter ID amendment. - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • REP. ROBIN LUNDSTRUM: Sponsored the Voter ID amendment.

A House committee today talked about stripping colleges and the Highway Department of power and tightening procedures on constitutional amendments but in the end voted as Chairman Bob Ballinger orchestrated and expected — to put a Voter ID amendment on the 2018 ballot.

It's the national Republican Party agenda to make voting more difficult. There's scant evidence of any meaningful voter impersonation fraud (and the sponsor of this amendment could cite none), but abundant evidence exists that voter ID bills have disenfranchised thousands of voters, particularly the poor and minorities.

We should be making it easier to vote, not harder. Postcard and Internet voting are easily achieved realities, but Republicans prefer that only the right sorts of people vote.

Will House Speaker Jeremy Gillam's advocacy of a procedural amendment have enough support to slow the Voter ID amendment? That's about the only question remaining. Legislation is also pending to attempt Voter ID by statute. A previous effort was ruled unconstitutional, but Republicans think a Republican-friendly Supreme Court is ready to reverse that precedent. They are probably right.

The resolution for the amendment, which will require a photo ID for both in-person and absentee voting, requires House and Senate approval to reach the ballot. The Senate has picked an amendment to reduce attorney fees and damage awards for abuse, neglect, malpractice and negligence as its offering for the year.

UPDATE: Benjamin Hardy has a fuller account of the hearing at our partner the Arkansas Nonprofit News Network's website.

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