Arkansas’ highest court docket on Thursday upheld a voter ID regulation that’s practically an identical to a restriction struck down by the court docket 4 years in the past.
The Arkansas Supreme Courtroom reversed a decide’s ruling towards the regulation permitted final 12 months by the Republican-controlled Legislature and governor. A decide had blocked officers from implementing the restriction, however justices in Might stayed that ruling and stored the regulation in impact whereas they thought-about the case.
The excessive court docket in 2014 struck down a earlier model of the voter ID regulation as unconstitutional.
The revised voter ID regulation, which was permitted final 12 months, requires voters to point out picture identification earlier than casting a poll. Not like the earlier measure, the brand new regulation permits voters to solid provisional ballots in the event that they signal a sworn assertion confirming their identities. Opponents of the brand new measure had argued that it circumvented the 2014 ruling.
Within the 5-2 ruling Thursday, justices stated lawmakers had the ability to enact the restriction by labeling it a change to a constitutional modification associated to voter registration necessities. “It’s subsequently constitutional,” Justice Robin Wynne wrote within the court docket’s ruling.
Arkansas officers argued the brand new regulation complies with a part of the Supreme Courtroom’s ruling hanging down the 2013 measure. Justices in 2014 unanimously struck down the earlier voter ID regulation, with a majority of the court docket ruling that it unconstitutionally added a qualification to vote. Three justices, nevertheless, dominated the measure did not get the two-thirds vote wanted to vary voter registration necessities.
A majority of the court docket has modified arms since that ruling, and greater than two-thirds of the Arkansas Home and Senate permitted the brand new measure final 12 months.
A justice who disagreed with the ruling Thursday questioned the court docket’s argument that the regulation was associated to voter registration, noting that the state would not require picture ID so as to register to vote.
“If offering picture identification had been required at registration, requiring presentation of the cardboard on the polling place could be extra defensible,” Justice Jo Hart wrote. “Asking for a photograph identification card on the polling place strikes me as locking the barn door after the horse has been stolen.”