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Lawmakers Discuss Voter ID Bill

Voting is a constitutional right, and some people believe you should have to show a photo ID to exercise that right.
Voting is a constitutional right, and some people believe you should have to show a photo ID to exercise that right.

But the issue is still divisive, as even usually reserved senators can get fired up when you bring up voter ID requirements.

Senator Bryan King says requiring a photo ID at the polls ensures election integrity and cuts down on voter fraud.

"We know providing a photo ID is part of everyday life," King says.

But detractors say photo ID laws attempt to correct a non-existent voter fraud problem in Arkansas, a sentiment shared by Gould Police Chief William Elamin.

"Any person has the right to vote, that's their constitutional right," Chief Elamin says.

Senator David Johnson went further, telling King and a former state representative that their plan suppresses the vote for the poor and elderly.

In an exchange, Dan Greenberg said, "My general view is vote fraud is a problem, and it's legitimate for the legislature to address it."

When Senator Johnson asked Greenberg if he admitted that the measure would suppress votes, Greenberg replied, "I think it has the effect of suppressing vote fraud. Maybe it will have the effect of suppressing illegitimate votes."

"In many of these states where they've passed voter ID, voter turnout has went up," Senator King said. "So I always say, 'what part of increased turnout do you not understand.'"

The vote to advance it went along party lines: 5 republicans, 3 democrats.

Senator King estimates it would cost taxpayers $300,000 to implement his legislation, so it's possible the bill could pass, but the legislature never decides to fund it.
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