Susan Inman, the former Pulaski County election coordinator who’s the Democratic candidate for secretary of state, criticized her Republican opponent, the incumbent secretary of state Mark Martin, for a poor job of educating voters about the new Voter ID and the damaging impact on voters.
Of course, the Voter ID law WAS intended to disenfranchise voters and it did just that, a review of primary voting shows.
It was already known that the law’s inclusion of an ID provision in the absentee voting portion of the law had resulted in hundreds of disqualified ballots. A Democrat-Gazette article, based on a tally in all 75 counties, found that 1,036 voters were disqualified, mostly Democratic primary voters. Said Inman:
“It’s now very clear that Secretary of State Mark Martin was insufficient in educating voters about the new ID law. Martin knew that the absentee votes would be a problem after January’s special election, but other than try to illegally create a rule to fix the law, he clearly did not find it important to expand voter education efforts,” said Susan Inman, candidate for Secretary of State. “As Secretary of State, I will make sure that the office puts together a comprehensive and budget-conscious plan to educate counties and voters across the state so that this never happens again.”
Inman continued, “When we’re talking about absentee voters, we’re talking about Arkansans who have been legally voting for years. County Election Commissioners even recognized the names of voters whose ballots were thrown out and were unable to do anything. Arkansans should not tolerate absentee voters being disenfranchised in bulk because of the lack of information provided to them. Mark Martin’s job as Secretary of State has been a complete failure and it’s time for someone with the experience and work ethic to stand up for Arkansas voters.”
Inman noted that Martin spent a paltry amount on voter education, only $88,000, or less than 20 cents per registered voter. Missouri, by way of comparison, spent $5.1 million.
Martn’s office has said its budget was set by the legislature. But clearly, neither he nor the Republican majority, saw a need to push hard on voter education about the new law.