New Voter ID Law Being Tested In Arkansas Primaries

(West Memphis, AR) Some call it a test for the voter ID law in Arkansas.

Tuesday was the first big election day since the law went into effect, requiring voters to show an ID to cast a ballot.

The voter ID law has been in effect in Arkansas since January, but it seems that many people did not get the message.

As voters in Crittenden County showed up to vote for their favorite candidates in the primary, all were required to do something for the first time: show their identification.

“A voter ID is very important,” said Scott Hamilton, a West Memphis voter.

The idea behind the new law is to prevent voter fraud, which Crittenden County knows a lot about.

Last year, former State Representative Hudson Hallum, along with a handful of others, was found guilty of buying bundles of absentee ballots and falsely submitting them.

“We’ve suspected it for many years,” said Dixie Carlson, the minority election commissioner for Crittenden County.

This year, Carlson says she is confident about the authenticity of the absentee ballots she’s counting, but there’s a problem.

“We have opened ten (absentee ballots) and so far out of ten, there’s been no ID,” said Anna Upton, an election worker.

It seems many absentee voters didn’t know they had to submit a copy of their ID with their ballot.

“Somehow they did not get the word that they had to have an ID, but of course it’s been in the paper several times,” said Upton.

While WREG was at the West Memphis Civic Center and workers went through stacks of absentee ballots, only one envelope had the required ID.

“We found one ID!” exclaimed an election worker.

According to the Arkansas Secretary of State, the stacks of ballots without a copy of an ID will not be counted.

So while Carson strongly believes in the new voter ID law, some absentee voters may be disappointed.

The Arkansas polls are open until 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Remember to bring your ID.

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