Oral arguments will take place today in a case challenging Arkansas’ strict voter ID law. The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, which filed an amicus brief supporting the challengers, released the following statement.
“Arkansas’s photo ID law could make it more difficult for thousands of life-long voters to cast ballots," said Myrna Pérez, deputy director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice. “The Arkansas Supreme Court must uphold this constitutionally protected right and follow its state constitution by rejecting this overly harsh and burdensome law.”
“The constitution is clear: Arkansas voters get to decide whether to change voting rules—not the General Assembly,” said Michael Li, counsel with the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center. “For 150 years, courts have said repeatedly that a constitutional amendment is the only way to change laws affecting the right to vote. The courts have stuck down every other attempt to change voting qualifications. The photo ID law is no different.”
Arkansas’s photo ID law passed in 2013, after a successful veto override by the Republican legislature. Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox found the law unconstitutional in two separate cases. The Arkansas Supreme Court overturned one decision but did not decide on the constitutionality of the photo ID requirement, which is now squarely before the court in this second case.
Click here to read the Brennan Center’s brief.
See all of the Brennan Center’s State of Voting in 2014 resources.
Oral arguments will stream live here beginning at nine.
For more information, or to set up an interview with a Brennan Center expert, please contact Desiree Ramos Reiner at Desiree.Reiner@nyu.edu or 646–293–8321.