An Arkansas judge struck down the state’s strict photo ID law on Thursday, saying it illegally adds a requirement voters must fulfill before going to the polls.
Judge Tim Fox of the Pulaski County circuit court said the state’s law is unconstitutional.
Fox was asked to examine the law’s requirements because of concerns over how it would apply to voters who submit absentee ballots. But after reviewing the entire law, he said it was null and void.
The law was enacted last year after GOP lawmakers in the state overrode a veto by Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe.
The judge's decision will likely be appealed. A separate lawsuit challenging the law was filed last week.
Early voting, meanwhile, opens in 10 days for the state's primary on May 20.
Arkansas’s law is one of the strictest in the country because it requires voters to possess a document or ID card that includes the person’s photo.
Democrats have blasted efforts by Republican-controlled legislatures to enact laws that require voters to obtain photo IDs, claiming it disenfranchises minorities.
Republicans have defended it, claiming it prevents voter fraud.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 34 states have passed voter ID laws, 31 of which are in effect.
Seven other states — Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia — have similar strict photo ID laws.