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Governor Vetoes Voter ID Bill

Governor Mike Beebe vetoed a bill that would require voters to show identification prior to casting their ballot.
LITTLE ROCK, AR – Governor Mike Beebe vetoed a bill that would require voters to show identification prior to casting their ballot.

Beebe cited cost to taxpayers, growth in bureaucracy, and the risk of disenfranchising voters as the reason for his veto.

Text from Governor’s Veto Letter:

Senate Bill 2 is not supported by any demonstrated need. While proponents of laws similar to Senate Bill 2 argue that they are necessary to combat “election fraud,” the bill addresses only voter impersonation, and no credible study of “election fraud” supports the notion that such voter impersonation is or has been common in Arkansas.

Senate Bill 2 is, then, an expensive solution in search of a problem. The Bureau of Legislative Research estimates that Senate Bill 2 will cost approximately $300,000 in tax dollars to implement; and that estimate does not take into account the ongoing costs that the taxpayers will continue to bear in future years. At a time when some argue for the reduction of unnecessary bureaucracy and for reduced government spending, I find it ironic to be presented with a bill that increases government bureaucracy and increases government expenditures, all to address a need that has not been demonstrated. I cannot approve such an unnecessary measure that would negatively impact one of our most precious rights as citizens.


Read full veto letter

Under current law, poll workers ask for identification, but if a voter does not have it they can still cast a provisional ballot that would be verified later.

A majority vote in the Senate and House would override Beebe’s veto.

GOP Response

Doyle Webb, Chairman of the Republican Party of Arkansas:

By vetoing voter ID legislation, Governor Beebe has once again overruled the wishes of Arkansas voters, disregarded the will of bipartisan majorities who passed the bill in the legislature, and even ignored the opinion his own Attorney General released just this afternoon. In order to ensure the fairness and integrity of Arkansas elections, we look forward to overriding this veto in the days to come.
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