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Ark. judge stays own order on voter ID law

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — An Arkansas judge on Friday again found the state’s new voter ID law to be unconstitutional but said there wasn’t enough time to prohibit officials from enforcing it during this month’s primary election.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox ruled that the law requiring voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot violates the Arkansas Constitution. But Fox stayed his order, saying he did not believe there was time to stop the state from using the law for the May 20 primary because early voting is set to begin Monday.

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‘‘I’m not going to throw thousands of precincts into turmoil,’’ he told lawyers at the end of an hourlong hearing.

Fox struck down the law in a separate case last week, but the state Supreme Court stayed that ruling while it considers an appeal of the decision.

The law, which took effect Jan. 1, will be used statewide for the first time during this month’s primary.

The ruling comes as voter ID laws are being challenged throughout the nation.

A federal judge in Wisconsin struck down that state’s voter ID law on Tuesday and a Pennsylvania judge this week said he wouldn’t reconsider his decision striking down that state’s law as well. Last month, President Obama accused Republicans of using restrictions to keep voters from the polls and jeopardizing 50 years of expanded voting access for millions of black Americans and other minorities.

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