State judge declares four Arkansas voting laws unconstitutional

League of Women Voters and Arkansas United filed a lawsuit challenging the laws.

Updated: March 18, 2022 - 10:55pm

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A Pulaski County Circuit Court judge ruled Friday four election laws passed by state lawmakers and signed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson are unconstitutional.

The League of Women Voters of Arkansas and Arkansas United filed a lawsuit against the state, challenging Act 736, which said if a person had five or more absentee ballots they were presumed to be committing fraud; Act 249, which required a photo identification to vote; Act 728, which banned loitering within 100 feet of a polling location; and Act 973, which changed the deadline for absentee ballots from Monday before the election to the Friday before election day.

The bills were four in a package of 25 voting bills passed by Arkansas lawmakers last year they said were needed to assure elections were secure.

Judge Wendell Griffen made his decision after a four-day bench trial.

"(The) Court further finds that defendant's stated concerns about election integrity and insecurity are based entirely on conjecture and speculation," Griffen wrote in his ruling. "Conjecture and speculation, however plausible, cannot be permitted to supply the place of proof."

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