Judge blocks Voter ID law with primaries set for next month | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Judge blocks Voter ID law with primaries set for next month

Posted By on Thu, Apr 26, 2018 at 8:32 PM

GRAY: Voter ID law 2.0 still unconstitutional.
  • GRAY: Voter ID law 2.0 still unconstitutional.
Pulaski County Circuit Judge Alice Gray today granted a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the Voter ID law. Early voting in the state's May 22 primary begins May 7.

Gray's ruling comes in response to a public interest lawsuit with Barry Haas as plaintiff and Jeff Priebe as his attorney, which asked Gray to enjoin use of the state's new voter ID law in the primary elections. The Arkansas Supreme Court held in a 2014 case (also argued by Priebe) that a previous version of the law was unconstitutional. The 2017 legislature altered the language in the law but the new lawsuit argues that it remains unconstitutional. The membership of the Supreme Court itself has changed quite a bit since the 2014 ruling so we'll see what happens, but Gray, for her part, agreed.

"[The] plaintiff has established a likelihood of success on the merits on all claims raised in his Complaint," she wrote in her order granting the preliminary injunction.

Gray found that the plaintiff was forced with the choice of "complying with the unconstitutional requirements imposed by Act 633 [the Voter ID law] or not having his ballot counted during the May 2018 preferential primary." She ruled "that irreparable harm would result to plaintiff in the absence of a preliminary injunction, as his ballot will not be counted.”

"Defendants contend that voter fraud exists," her 60-page ruling noted, "but there was no evidence of voter fraud presented at the hearing."

Now we'll wait for word on whether Secretary of State Mark Martin will appeal to the state Supreme Court. 


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