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Weil and the Brennan Center for Justice Help Block Restrictive Voter ID Law in 2014

On October 15th, The Arkansas Supreme Court unanimously struck down the state’s restrictive photo ID voting requirement. The Court ruled that the requirement violated the state constitution by imposing an additional “qualification” on voting that would make it harder for citizens to cast a ballot. The New York Times covered the ruling in its October 15th issue.

Weil worked with the Brennan Center for Justice on this case, filing together an amicus curiae brief challenging the law on behalf of four scholars of Arkansas constitutional history and political science.  The Court adopted some of the argument that the Weil/Brennan team made in the brief.

The Arkansas law would have required voters to present a photo ID at the ballot box. Previously, state voting officials would ask a voter for ID but were required to allow the voter to cast a ballot even if the voter could not produce one. The new law allowed voters to cast a provisional ballot if they did not have photo ID, but such ballots would not be counted if the voter did not bring proof of identity to election officials by noon of the Monday following the election.

Studies indicate that restrictive photo ID laws decrease voter participation and tend to discourage voters from low-income backgrounds.

Weil associates Cheryl James and Kristen Murphy played a major role in drafting the brief. Weil partner David Hird supervised their efforts.