Recently, I had the pleasure of re-registering to vote in my home state. I say pleasure because while I found myself more at ease in the political atmosphere of California, voting in Arkansas has much more weight for me. I want to help evolve the political atmosphere in Arkansas, be it through my voting, my canvassing, or my writing.
Yet some areas of Arkansas seem to not want that contribution. I’m not talking about the people at the store who called me a “stupid bitch” for my Hillary Clinton t-shirt. I’m not talking about the elderly gentleman who called me a “liberal zombie” in the Sun’s editorial. No, they are just induviduals who resort to Trumpian tactics of belittlement and name-calling to supplement their arguments. Rather, the exclusion and suppression I want to focus on stems from our voting booths.
Let me make this abundantly clear, Arkansan voters: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO HAVE PHYSICAL PHOTO ID TO VOTE. Verbal identification is legally sufficient.
So, when you see the signs at the polls asking you to have ID ready, you can readily scoff. Yes, these signs sound like you need to have your state or federal ID out. Yes, there were designed to do that. They are intentionally vague because some county and state officials cannot accept that on October 14, 2015, the Arkansas Supreme Court struck down the voter ID law.
“But, Brittany,” some Craighead County voters may ask, “Kade Holliday and Jennifer Clack said that the signs were not made with the intention to have people think they are legally required to hand over their IDs.” Yes, that is what they said. That I will not dispute.
What I will dispute is the intent stated does not match up with the outcome. By leaving that implication tied to those signs, they have created confusion within the process. Clack was quick to accuse the voters of ignorance, but perhaps the voting commission could have not erected the signs at all. The signs are not legally required. They create undue ambiguity and confusion. For members of a political organization that adores strict and literal interpretation and streamlined government processes, I find it hypocritical that in the election where margins are tight, they choose to clutter and confuse.
Furthermore, Kade Holliday is the same clerk who blatantly defied federal ruling to issue same-sex marriage licenses. Please excuse me (or not) if I find his integrity in regards to the law to be more aligned to his personal desires rather than what is fair and legal.
Craighead County is not alone. I have read other reports of attempts of voter suppression across the state. Faulkner County, where I attended college, released a voter guide that even stated voters should have ID. The guide, much like the signs, did not state it was a requirement, but the language of the printed demand greatly implied otherwise.
Please, disregard these asinine signs and spread the word. And above all, go out and vote.