Mark Lowery, Arkansas’ treasurer and a former legislator who sponsored the state’s voter ID law, has died from complications from a stroke, his office said. He was 66.
Lowery’s office said the former state lawmaker died Wednesday morning at a Little Rock hospital. Lowery experienced two strokes over the past several months, the most recent in June. His office announced Tuesday he was leaving office on Sept. 30.
“We are devastated,” Chief of Staff Stephen Bright said in a statement. “Losing Mark represents a huge loss for the entire staff. Mark was an incredible leader and a humble public servant and this was unexpected.”
Lowery, a Republican, was elected state treasurer in November and took office in January. The treasurer oversees the state’s investments and sits on several boards, including the boards of trustees for state employees and teacher retirements systems.
Before being elected treasurer in November, Lowery had served 10 years in the state House.
“Mark was a lifelong public servant and a dedicated advocate for Arkansas’ children and families,” Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “To those who knew Mark, it was no surprise that he threw his hat into the ring and ran for the statehouse in 2012 – and it was even less of a surprise that in his decade-long tenure as a state representative, he brought about several major reforms to Arkansas’ education system.”
Lowery sponsored a 2017 law that reinstated the state’s requirement that voters show photo identification before being allowed to cast a ballot. A previous voter ID law had been struck down by the state Supreme Court, but justices in 2018 upheld Lowery’s revision.
Lowery also sponsored a 2021 law that removed the ability of people without identification to cast a ballot, even if they sign an affidavit affirming their identity.
Lowery experienced his first stroke in March and he spent several weeks after it rehabilitating in Arkansas before recovering with his daughter in Maryland. Lowery’s office described the second stroke as more severe and said it led him and his family to decide to announce his retirement.