- Associated Press - Friday, July 4, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A Pulaski County judge didn’t follow proper court-mandated guidelines when he found Arkansas’ new voter ID law unconstitutional, attorneys for Secretary of State Mark Martin argued in court papers.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox ruled in May that requiring voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot violated the Arkansas Constitution by creating a new qualification to vote. He also said lawmakers did not properly approve the measure, citing a constitutional amendment that requires a two-thirds vote in the Legislature to change the voter registration process.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Friday (http://bit.ly/1m0x7Qq ) that lawyers for the state argued in a Thursday court filing that Fox didn’t use the correct standard to evaluate the law and that he should have found it a legal “procedural requirement.” The court filing, also made on behalf of the State Board of Election Commissioners, argued that the new requirement allows poll workers to ensure that the person casting the ballot is the same person on the voter-registration rolls.

“When those comparisons confirm that the voter is who he claims to be rather than an imposter, then the public can rest assured that the person is lawfully registered to vote in the election,” the brief states.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit will respond to Martin’s filing before the Arkansas Supreme Court rules on the case.

The Republican-led Legislature approved the voter ID law last year, overriding a veto by Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe. Attorney General Dustin McDaniel and Martin have appealed Fox’s ruling.

The new law was in effect for this year’s primary and runoff elections because Fox issued a stay of his ruling as the cases are being appealed. The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas has asked Fox to lift his stay, noting that more than 1,000 ballots were thrown out during the May primary because of the ID requirement.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com

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