New law requires photo ID at polls - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

New law requires photo ID at polls

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JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A law requiring Arkansas voters to present a valid photo ID at the polls took effect New Year's Day.  

Many voters in Region 8 said it will not impact them since they already carry their driver's licenses at all times.

Some said the new law will make future elections run more smoothly than in the past.   

"To prevent identity fraud and stuff or going in twice, three times to vote," Paragould resident Marty Wagner said. 

"I've seen some elections that it didn't go well. One election for governor, one county voted 110 percent of the registered voters. So it prevents that sort of thing," Jonesboro resident R.D. Lemons said.

For those who do not have driver's licenses, the state will provide free photo IDs.  

"I really don't usually carry an ID with me because normally when I get in the car, you know, if it's a quick thing, I just run out and leave," Jonesboro resident Nickell Rice.

However, Rice said some sort of identification is vital to the democratic process.

"You really don't want just random, anybody voting. If anybody votes, that means anybody can be on the stands," Rice said.

The law exempts voters living in nursing homes or other long-term facilities.

It will first affect voters in Craighead County in the special election between Republican John Cooper and Democrat Steve Rockwell Jan. 14.

"I probably won't vote in this one because I work all the time. But in the bigger elections, I usually try to vote," Wagner said.

"We vote in every election," Lemons said. "It's my civic duty because they go through a lot of expenses to hold an election and I feel like we need to participate."

"You actually want to get someone that's gonna be for the people. They want something to be done and there's a lot of stuff in Jonesboro that needs to be done," Rice said.

According to the Arkansas News Bureau, the Arkansas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said it plans to file a legal challenge to the law. The group said it will negatively affect some types of voters, like the poor and elderly.

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