Arkansas governor vetoes voter ID bill

Updated
Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe is interviewed in his office at the Arkansas state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark., Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013. Beebe said he would prefer...
Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe is interviewed in his office at the Arkansas state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark., Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013. Beebe said he would prefer...
AP Photo/Danny Johnston

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe vetoed a bill Monday that would have required voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot, calling the measure “an expensive solution in search of a problem” and arguing that the requirement would burden residents trying to exercise their voting rights.

But the legislation may still become law, as state lawmakers in support of the proposal plan to override Beebe’s veto. Under Arkansas law, the legislature needs only a simple majority voter to override a veto.

In a letter explaining his decision, Beebe said he “believes that the bill will unnecessarily cost taxpayers money, grow bureaucracy and risk disenfranchisement of voters.” According to the Bureau of Legislative Research, the state estimates that it would cost taxpayers $300,000 to provide free IDs for those who do not have them.

“I cannot approve such an unnecessary measure that would negatively impact one of our most precious rights as citizens,” Beebe added.

The Republican-controlled statehouse has already overridden a veto by Beebe before. The Arkansas governor vetoed a law that bans abortions after 12-weeks, arguing that it would ultimately be found unconstitutional, and that it would be nothing more than a waste of money for the state to try to defend it. But the state legislature would not take no for an answer.

The same could happen to Arkansas’ voting laws. Under current law, poll workers request ID but ultimately do not require it of voters. Under the new proposal, voters could cast provisional ballots but those would not be counted unless they returned with proper ID.

Arkansas governor vetoes voter ID bill

Updated