Ark. Voter ID Law Ruled Unconstitutional

- LITTLE ROCK, AR - A Pulaski County judge ruled Thursday that a state law requiring voters to present photo identification is unconstitutional.

The decision came in late Thursday afternoon from Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Davis Fox in a lawsuit brought by the Pulaski County Election Commission against the Arkansas State Board of Election Commissioners and Doyle Webb with the Republican Party of Arkansas.

Pulaski County sued over a rule passed by the state board allowing for extra time to count absentee ballots mailed in without a photo ID.  No extra time for absentee ballots exists in Act 595 of 2013.

Fox ruled the law itself was unconstitutional because it created requirements for qualified voters above and beyond what is spelled out in the state constitution.

Sponsor of the legislation State Senator Bryan King, R-Green Forest, called the ruling surprising.

"To me it's fairly odd and strange," King says.  "He ruled without one side giving their opinion.  Why would he do that?  It's very strange."

Aaron Sadler, spokesperson for Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, D-Arkansas, said the state would appeal the ruling.

"The State Board of Election Commissioners has already contacted us requesting an appeal and we will work as quickly as possible on the board’s behalf to appeal this decision," Sadler says.

The preferential primary is set for May 20.  Early voting begins May 5.

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