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HB 1797 - Requires Proof of Identity to Vote - Arkansas Key Vote

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Title: Requires Proof of Identity to Vote

Vote Smart's Synopsis:

Vote to pass a bill that requires a voter to provide proof of identity when voting.


  • Defines "proof of identity" as a document or identification card that (Sec. 1):
    • Shows the name of the person to whom the document was issued; 
    • Shows a photograph of the person to whom the document was issued; and
    • Contains an expiration date, is not expired, has expired no more than four years before the date of the election in which the person wishes to vote, and is issued by the United States or the State of Arkansas.
  • Specifies that any person desiring to vote in Arkansas shall (Sec. 2):
    • Present proof of identity to the election official when appearing to vote in person either early or at the polls on election day; or 
    • When voting by mail, submit with the ballot a copy of current and valid photo identification or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter.
  • Establishes that a resident of any licensed facility that provides long-term medical or personal care is not required to provide proof of identity before voting as long as documentation is provided by the administrator of the facility attesting that the person is a resident of the facility (Sec. 3). 
  • Establishes that when a voter is unable to provide proof of identity the voter may cast a provisional ballot (Sec. 3). 
  • Authorizes that a provisional ballot cast by a voter who did not provide proof of identity shall be counted only if (Sec. 4):
    • The voter has not been challenged or required to vote a provisional ballot for any other reason; and
    • The voter returns to the county board of election commissioners by 12:00 p.m. on the Monday following the election and:
      • Provides proof of identity; or 
      • Executes an affidavit stating that the voter cannot provide proof of identity because the voter is indigent, or has a religious objection to being photographed.
  • Establishes that the Secretary of State may purchase cameras and other equipment necessary in order to provide for the issuance of a voter identification card in the office of the county clerk (Sec. 4). 
  • Establishes that a voter identification card shall be issued without a fee to an individual who (Sec. 4):
    • Does not have a valid Arkansas driver's license; and 
    • Will be at least 18 years of age at the next general election, special election, or municipal election.
  • Establishes that the act will become effective upon the later of the following (Sec. 6):
    • January 1, 2013; or 
    • The appropriation and availability of funding to the Secretary of State for the issuance of voter identification cards.