Today, the Arkansas Supreme Court stayed a ruling from a lower court judge last week that struck down the state’s voter ID law.
On Wednesday (May 2), the state’s highest court ruled that election officials can enforce a law passed in 2017 that requires voters to show their identification at the polls in the upcoming May 22nd primaries. Last week, Pulaski County Judge Alice Gray ruled the law was unconstitutional and said it could not be enforced.
Gray ruled any changes made to the state voter rules must be germane to Amendment 51 of 1964, which abolished the unconstitutional Arkansas poll tax requirement previously found in Article 3, Section 1 of the Arkansas Constitution.
In her order, she explained that Act 633, passed by the General Assembly by a three-fourths majority in the 2017 regular session, was unconstitutional because it imposed additional requirements to vote that are not found in the state constitution.
The Supreme Court did not rule on the merits of the case, but it did place on hold Judge Gray’s ruling that blocked the law’s enforcement before the May 22 primary. Early voting for the primary begins Monday, May 7th.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, who asked the court for an expedited hearing, said, “I am very pleased that the Arkansas Supreme Court agreed with the arguments we made on behalf of the State Board of Election Commissioners that the requirement that a voter show photographic identification or sign a statement affirming his or her identity as a registered voter is not burdensome and helps ensure free and fair elections. The stay issued this afternoon provides needed clarity for Arkansas voters and election officials.”