The equipment to produce photographic identification for voters under a new state law has been installed in all 75 counties, Secretary of State Mark Martin said Thursday.
Under the law, beginning Jan. 1, voters will have to show photographic proof of identity when they go to the polls. The Legislature passed the measure, then overrode Gov. Mike Beebe’s veto of it.
Martin said Thursday the last voter ID systems were delivered and installed Wednesday at county clerks’ offices in Grant and Saline counties.
"Free photographic voter ID cards are available to registered voters who sign an oath that they have no other valid form of photo identification," the secretary of state said in a news release. "This project has put counties in compliance with the requirements of Act 595 of 2013. It also provides additional integrity to our electoral system."
Act 595 included a broad definition of a valid photo identification, besides the new voter identification cards, including post-secondary school issued IDs, employee ID badges, a concealed handgun permit, a public assistance identification card, U.S. military IDs, and state-issued driver’s licenses or ID cards.
Voters who have another form of photographic identification as defined in the act do not qualify for one of the new voter identification cards.
The voter ID systems were purchased from AAMSCO Identification Products Inc. for $114,974. Each county was provided with one machine.
Martin said his office has set up a website with information about the voter identification law, and has worked through civic organizations and others to publicize the new law.
Martin also has endorsed a voter education effort on the law that the state Republican Party has said it plans to launch. The state Democratic Party has criticized him for getting involved with an effort by a partisan group.
Republican majorities in the House and Senate passed the voter ID bill over the objection of Democrats who argued it was unnecessary and could disenfranchise some Arkansans.