A month from today, people across the country will (hopefully) go and vote for who they think will best represents their interests. And, as usual, there’s a lot of news dealing with the elections. One story out of Arkansas really caught our eye, though.
On Tuesday, Pulaski Circuit and County Clerk Larry Crane cancelled Leslie Rutledge’s voter registration. Why is this news? Leslie Rutledge is the Republican candidate for Attorney General in Arkansas.
In 2008, Rutledge moved to Washington D.C., and registered to vote as a D.C. resident in July. However, in November of that year, she voted via absentee ballot in the 2008 Arkansas general election. And, in 2010, she registered to vote in Virginia.
Crane said his office received documents last week alleging irregularities with Rutledge’s voter registration. When his office checked out the allegations, he found them to be accurate, and canceled her voter registration for being registered in multiple states. What makes this so interesting is that under Arkansas law, it’s a felony for a person who is not a qualified voter to vote in an election., and it’s against state law for anyone who is not registered to vote in the state to be elected to public office.
Rutledge for her part claims that in March 2013, she had gone to the county office and told an employee she was registered outside the state and needed to re-register; according to her, the employee said she’d just need to fill out a change of address card. Crane claims that she had never mentioned being registered in another state.
Rutledge, as is to be expected, is claiming that it’s all a political stunt engineered by Crane (who happens to be a Democrat), and that she found out about the cancellation at the same time that the news broke in the papers. She said; “They did contact me late afternoon, this was after the decision had been made. They never notified me that there might be a problem. That’s the concerning part. You have Larry Crane, a Democrat clerk who is a contributor to Nate Steel’s campaign, my opponent’s campaign, arbitrarily throwing me off the rolls without any sort of notification.”
The Republican National Lawyers Association (RNLA) is furious that Rutledge was removed from the voter rolls. This is the epitome of hypocrisy, as the RNLA is the group that’s been at the forefront of pretending there is massive voter fraud going on, and pushing for polling-place photo ID restrictions that disenfranchise the elderly, young and minorities as well as supporting mass voter registration roll purges by Republican officials. And, while mass voter purges within 90 days of federal elections are illegal, the RNLA supported Rick Scott’s attempt to do that very thing in Florida the last election cycle. And, Rutledge herself is a supporter of such laws. “As AG,” Rutledge said on her Facebook page in May, “I’ll defend voter ID laws to protect the integrity of our elections.”
Rutledge submitted a new voter registration to the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office on Friday; Crane had given her until Monday to re-register. Whether the story ends here or not remains to be seen.
Aren’t politics fun?