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New regulations approved last year regarding voter identification

Your vote this year will impact the future of our state in many ways. It will determine our next Governor, our Constitutional Officers, and who will represent your district here at the Capitol. We hope every Arkansan exercises this invaluable right. And as we are just weeks away from the May primary, now would be the perfect time to remind you about new regulations approved last year regarding voter identification.

Act 595 requires voters to present photo identification when voting. Examples of acceptable identification include an Arkansas Driver’s license, Arkansas Photo identification car, concealed carry license, a U.S. Passport, Student I.D., government employee identification, or a public assistance I.D. card.

If you do not have any forms of photo identification, you can obtain a free Voter I.D. card at your county clerk’s office. There is no state deadline to obtain your Voter I.D. card, but you may want to check with your county clerk to see how long processing will take for your area.

At your county clerk’s office you will be required to complete an application and sign an oath swearing you do not have any kind of photo identification. You will also be required to provide the following information:

· A document that includes your full legal name and date of birth.

· Documents showing your name and address

· Evidence of voter registration or proof of application.

The clerk will accept documents such as certified copies of a birth certificate and paycheck stubs as proof of identity. Utility bills and bank statements can be used to show your address.

There are exceptions. For example, individuals living in a long term care facility do not have to show a photo I.D. However, those individuals will need to provide a document from the facility administrator stating they are a resident of the facility.

If you cannot provide photo identification at the polls, you will be allowed to cast a provisional ballot. Provisional ballots will be counted only if the voter returns to the county clerk or election commission by noon the Monday after the election with either proof of identity or an affidavit swearing the voter does not photo I.D. either because the individual cannot afford one or because he or she objects to being photographed for religious reasons.

If you are not currently registered to vote, you have until April 21 to do so and cast a ballot in May. We have posted a link that provides information regarding acceptable documents to receive your free Voter ID and information regarding absentee voting on our website www.arkansashouse.org.

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