New year, new controversial voter ID law

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - Arkansans ring in a new year and with it a controversial law.

A new law that{}took effect Wednesday requires Arkansas voters to show their{}ID at the polls.

Next time you go out and vote for your favorite candidate you can expect to be asked to prove who you are with an ID. One county clerk says he's rarely had a problem with it even when it was optional.

"In Saline County people are accustomed to showing their ID," said Doug Curtis, Saline County Clerk.

Curtis said most local voters didn't know it was optional to show and{}ID but it's never been a problem.

"In November I went around and I asked the poll workers how many people came in and did not show their ID when they were asked for their ID and we had maybe one or two in the whole election," said Curtis.

With Act 595, a law that took effect Wednesday, Arkansas voters are required to present a valid ID{}for their vote to be counted.

"It's just an extra protection to try to help the integrity of the vote that's cast in the elections," said Rep. David Meeks, a Republican.

Lawmakers, mostly Republicans, argue that voter fraud may impact elections.

"We thought that it was important. It was the right thing to do to be able to do that, to{}protect the integrity of our elections," said Rep. Meeks.

According the Department of Justice, out of the 197 million votes cast for federal candidates between 2002 and 2005, only 40 voters were indicted for voter fraud. However, Rep. Meeks says that's still too many, especially when it comes to local elections.

"We've had several other elections that have been decided by just a few votes or less," he said.

As for voters who aren't trying to commit a crime, Curtis says you won't see much of a difference.

"We'll have a lot of signage requiring. You know, we will now require an ID," said Curtis.

If you don't have the appropriate identification you can contact you county clerk for a free voter{}ID card.