Lieutenant Gov. Mark Darr used his column this week to encourage Arkansans to vote in the upcoming primary election, but he also spoke in favor of passing a state voter identification law. Darr writes…
Our country is a nation of laws. We pride ourselves in the United States on being governed by the rule of law, not by the whims of a dictator or some other unelected body. We have seen for decades in countries like Cuba and Syria that dictatorial systems of government often stage elections and claim victory even though it is obvious that vote fraud is being committed. Though we do not live in a dictatorship, our system is susceptible to fraud as well and that should concern all citizens who want free and fair elections.
Our election system should be a model of voting efficiency and accuracy. To ensure this, we need a voter identification law in Arkansas. There are those who will say this is discriminatory and will somehow oppress certain voters. I would not advocate for such a law if I thought that were the case.
Nowadays, we have to show a photo ID to do things far less consequential than voting. For example, you can’t cash a check or rent a car without showing photo ID, and before Redbox and Netflix, you couldn’t even rent a movie.
Critics will say that those things are not constitutionally guaranteed, but voting is. I certainly respect the rights guaranteed by the Constitution, but all of those have been subject to additional regulations through legislation, for better or for worse.
Due to our legislative system in Arkansas, I know that such a law can’t be introduced until the next legislature is seated in 2013, but I hope this will be an issue that is discussed throughout this election season and that people will see the need for its implementation.
A voter ID law was proposed by Rep. Bryan King (R-Green Forest) who is currently running for the State Senate. King was able to get the bill passed by the House with 53 votes, but the bill died in the Senate State Agencies Committee. The Democratic Party of Arkansas fought hard against the bill.