Arkansas court won’t dismiss challenge to new voting laws

February 17, 2022 GMT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday said it won’t dismiss a challenge to four new voting restrictions passed by the Legislature last year.

Justices rejected arguments by attorneys for Secretary of State John Thurston that he was immune from the lawsuit filed by the League of Women Voters of Arkansas, Arkansas United and five voters over the restrictions. The court upheld a Pulaski County judge’s decision to reject Thurston’s request for a dismissal.

The measures being challenged include a change to the state’s voter ID law that removes the option for someone to sign an affidavit affirming their identity if they don’t present a photo ID at the polls.

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The groups are also challenging a law preventing anyone other than voters from being within 100 feet of a polling place, one requiring an absentee voter’s signature on a ballot to match the signature on their voter registration application, and another moving up the deadline for voters to return absentee ballots in person.

The laws were among a historic number of voting restrictions that advanced in statehouses across the country last year, fueled by former President Donald Trump’s unfounded claims of election fraud in the 2020 election.