Former Republican Congressman Asa Hutchinson won his party’s nomination to be Arkansas’ next governor on Tuesday — but he almost lost his chance to vote for himself. Hutchinson was initially turned away at the polls because he forgot to bring the photo identification required by Arkansas’ new voter ID law, a law that he supports. The former lawmaker was eventually able to vote after he sent an aide to retrieve his ID for him.
Most voters, of course, do not have staffers that they can send to retrieve their IDs for them. Indeed, for many low income voters, who lack the job flexibility to take extra time to vote if their first attempt fails, being turned away from the polls even temporarily can cost them their right to vote. Low income voters are one of several demographic groups that are disproportionately likely to not have a photo ID in the first place. Most of these demographic groups tend to prefer Democrats to Republicans.
Although voter ID’s defenders claim that these laws are need to prevent voter fraud at the polls, such fraud is virtually non-existent. Indeed, Iowa’s Republican Secretary of State Matt Schultz recently completed a two-year investigation into voter fraud within his state. He was unable to find a single case where one voter impersonated another at the polls — meaning that his own investigation discovered zero cases where a voter ID law would have prevented a fraudulent vote from being cast.