LITTLE ROCK – Today the Arkansas General Assembly gave final approval to three bills that restrict voting access, including measures that would ban people from providing food and water to voters waiting in line at the polls (Senate Bill 486) and strip power from nonpartisan election officials and give it to partisan politicians (Senate Bill 487 and HB1715).
“What we’re seeing in Arkansas is the most dangerous assault on the right to vote since the Jim Crow era,” said Holly Dickson, ACLU of Arkansas executive director. “Legislators are moving at breakneck speed to erect new barriers to the ballot that will disproportionately impact voters of color, as well as elderly and low-income Arkansans. These bills don’t just make it harder to vote, they also make it easier for partisan politicians to interfere with local election administrators – something that could have disastrous consequences for democracy. These bills will make it harder for all voters – of all political stripes – to make their voices heard. We urge Governor Hutchinson to listen to the concerns raised by Arkansans across the political spectrum and veto these anti-voter bills.”
Legislators also moved forward on Senate Bill 643, which moves up the due date to return absentee ballots to the Friday before election day and require them to be delivered in-person, rather than a dropbox, and Senate Bill 644, which would allow for a state takeover of local election authorities.