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Arkansas' Voter ID Law Struck Down Amid Confusion in Texas

Arkansas' voter identification law crumbled Wednesday when the state's Supreme Court upheld a lower court's decision to strike down the law.

By Lauren Raab

Arkansas' voter identification law crumbled Wednesday when the state's Supreme Court upheld a lower court's decision to strike down the law.

Voter qualifications "set forth in our state's constitution simply do not include any proof-of-identity requirement," the Supreme Court said in its decision.

The Arkansas legislature passed the law, which required voters to show photo ID at polling places, in 2013. Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe vetoed it, but legislators overrode his veto.

Although a state judge struck down the law in May 2014, the state Supreme Court stayed that decision as it pondered whether to hear the case, so the law was in effect during a primary election that month.

The high court's decision Wednesday means voters in the upcoming November election will not have to show identification.

Meanwhile, Texas is experiencing a legal tug-of-war over its own voter ID law.

That law, passed in 2011, was struck down last week on the grounds that it violated the constitutional right to vote and discriminated against racial minorities.

But a federal appeals court stayed the ruling Tuesday, emphasizing "the importance of maintaining the status quo on the eve of an election." Early voting in Texas is due to begin Monday.

Then, on Wednesday, an emergency appeal sent the case to the Supreme Court. The high court is to decide whether Texas can enforce the law in time for the election.

(c)2014 the Los Angeles Times

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