Preliminary injunction sought in voter ID case

LITTLE ROCK — The plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging Arkansas’ voter ID law said in a court filing Wednesday that they, and all Arkansas voters, will be irreparably harmed if a judge does not bar enforcement of the law before the May 20 primary and nonpartisan election.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas and the Arkansas Law Center filed the suit in Pulaski County Circuit Court last week on behalf of four Arkansas voters. The suit alleges that Act 595 of 2013, which requires voters to show photo ID at the polls, violates the Arkansas Constitution by imposing restrictions on voting that go beyond the restrictions provided in the constitution and by impairing the rights of Arkansans to vote.

In a motion for a preliminary injunction filed Monday, the plaintiffs argued that Circuit Judge Tim Fox should grant the injunction because the case is not likely to be resolved until after the May 20 election.

“Because of the time … needed to try and prepare this case, is a preliminary injunction is not granted, plaintiffs, and all other similarly situated qualified Arkansas voters, would have their constitutional right to vote forever lost,” the plaintiffs argued in the motion.

They also noted that early voting begins May 5 and argued that an injunction is necessary “because of the time constraint imposed by Arkansas law on the dates of elections and the lack of education to qualified Arkansas voters on this new and recent change in the election law.”

The state attorney general’s office is expected to represent the defendants, Secretary of State Mark Martin and other members of the state Board of Election Commissioners. By late Tuesday afternoon the attorney general’s office had not yet filed a response to the lawsuit or the motion for preliminary injunction.

The plaintiffs in the suit are voters Freedom Kohls, Toylanda Smith, Joe Flakes and Barry Haas.