LITTLE ROCK — Members of the Arkansas Legislative Black Caucus said Monday they have serious concerns about a bill that would require voters to show a photo ID at the polls.
The caucus met and heard a presentation by Sen. Byran King, R-Green Forest, the sponsor of Senate Bill 2. The bill is expected to be considered by the Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee this week.
King said the bill seeks to address voter fraud and is not intended to discourage anyone from voting. Members of the caucus questioned how much voter fraud exists and said they feared the bill would have unintended consequences.
"This seems to be a barrier, and it seems not to solve a problem," said Sen. Joyce Elliott, D-Little Rock.
Little Rock lawyer Dan Greenberg, a former House member, testified in support of the bill.
"There are large majorities of many different demographic groups that favor a voter ID requirement — large majorities of men, large majorities of women, large majorities of Republicans, large majorities of Democrats, large majorities of whites and large majorities of blacks," Greenberg said.
Rita Sklar, executive director of the Arkansas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, testified that studies have shown most cases of so-called voter fraud are the result of a voter making a mistake about his or her eligibility to vote, and that those incidents are infrequent.
Sklar also said blacks are three times more likely than whites not to have a photo ID.
The caucus did not take a position on the bill.