State of Arkansas

Arkansas Voter Suppression Laws

League of Women Voters of Arkansas v. Thurston

Lawsuit brought by the League of Women Voters of Arkansas and Arkansas United challenging four new voter suppression laws. The laws go after every aspect of the election process: Act 736 establishes a new signature match requirement for mail-in ballots; Act 973 creates a new absentee ballot return period, the earliest in the country; Act 249 requires voters who lack proper ID when casting their ballots to bring a form of identification to the county clerk’s office within six days; and Act 728 bans anyone except voters from coming within 100 feet of a polling place, including volunteers who are distributing food and water to voters in long lines. The lawsuit claims that all four laws violate the Arkansas Constitution. The court denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss, after which the defendants filed an interlocutory appeal to the Arkansas Supreme Court. The Arkansas Supreme Court affirmed the lower court’s denial, holding that the defendant is not entitled to sovereign immunity in this case.

A trial was held in March 2022; a breakdown of the case can be found here. On the last day of trial, the judge ruled from the bench that all four laws violate the Arkansas Constitution and would be permanently enjoined. A written order followed on March 24, 2022. The defendants appealed this decision to the Arkansas Supreme Court, which stayed (meaning paused) the trial court’s decision.

RESULT: On May 16, 2024, the Arkansas Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s decision, holding that these laws do not violate the state’s constitution. The laws remain in effect.

Case Documents (Pulaski County circuit court)

Case Documents (arkansas supreme court)

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