LITTLE ROCK — State legislators filed two proposed constitutional amendments Wednesday that would require voters to show photo identification at the polls.

LITTLE ROCK — State legislators filed two proposed constitutional amendments Wednesday that would require voters to show photo identification at the polls.


During the 2013 regular session, lawmakers approved legislation requiring photo ID at the polls and overrode a veto by then-Gov. Mike Beebe. But the law, Act 595, was struck down last year by the Arkansas Supreme Court, which said it violated the state constitution by imposing qualifications for voters that went beyond those set forth in the constitution.


Sen. Bryan King, R-Green Forest, the sponsor of Act 595, filed a proposed constitutional amendment Wednesday that would, if referred to the ballot and approved by voters, write a photo ID requirement into the constitution. On the same day, Rep. Mark Lowery, R-Maumelle, filed a similar proposal.


King and Lowery said they believe requiring photo ID at the polls is a reasonable precaution against fraud.


"It its not an egregious infringement. People are required to submit and show photo ID for any number of activities — boarding a plane, on and on," Lowery said.


Act 595 was uniformly oppose by Democratic legislators. Opponents said it disenfranchised voters who were least likely to have photo ID, such as the poor, the elderly and minorities. The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas said that because of the law more than 1,000 votes by eligible voters were not counted in the May 2014 primary election, before the law was struck down.


The Senate Stage Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee has eight members and is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. King and Lowery acknowledged that getting a majority vote in that committee will be difficult.


Asked if he expected to get Democratic support for his proposal, King joked Wednesday, "I’d have a better chance of winning a Brad Pitt lookalike contest."


But King added, "You never know. It’s just like fishing: You’re not going to catch a fish unless you lay your hook in the water."