LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — An Arkansas judge made a ruling, declaring four different voting laws to be 'unconstitutional' and a violation of the Arkansas Constitution.
Pulaski County Judge Wendell Griffin detailed the ruling in the following statement, where he focused on Act 249, Act 728, Act 736, and Act 973:
Acts 249, 728, 736, and 973 are each and all declared unconstitutional. Plaintiff's motion for permanent injunction as to each is granted. The Court will issue a memorandum order and judgment accordingly after parties submit their proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law. The parties may submit proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law to the Court by 2 p.m. on Monday, March 21, 2022. Trial adjourned at 1:01 p.m.
For reference, here's a lot at each of the acts and what they cover according to Arkansas leaders:
Act 249: Voter identification. 'An act to amend the law concerning voter identification. To amend the law concerning verification of provisional ballots. To amend amendment 51 of the Arkansas Constitution, and for other purposes.'
Act 728: Poll campaigns. 'An act to amend the law concerning electioneering. To amend the law concerning penalties for misdemeanor offenses related to voting, and for other purposes.'
Act 736: Validation of ballots. 'An act to amend Arkansas law concerning absentee ballots. To amend election law. To amend the law concerning voting by absentee ballot. To amend the law concerning spoiled ballots, and for other purposes.'
Act 973: Mail-in absentee ballot deadlines. 'An act to amend Arkansas law concerning absentee ballots. To amend Arkansas law concerning elections, and for other purposes.'
Following the judge's ruling, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson shared his thoughts and said that the bills would be receiving an appeal.
“The election integrity bills struck down by Judge Griffen are certainly headed to the Arkansas Supreme Court on appeal. States should be left with the flexibility to protect the integrity of the ballot box and the Supreme Court will have the opportunity to review the constitutionality of these laws,” Hutchinson said.
We will update this article when more information becomes available.