Dave Ramsey just wrote at length about the open coordination between Leslie Rutledge and a super PAC advocating for her election (though perhaps not illegal, it’s certainly irregular campaign finance). Now, Blue Hog Report breaks the news that Pulaski County Clerk Larry Crane cancelled Rutledge’s voter registration on Tuesday afternoon after being informed late last week that she’s simultaneously registered in Washington D.C., and perhaps Virginia as well. The D-G confirms.
Matt Campbell, who runs Blue Hog, points out that this would seem to make Rutledge ineligible to hold office in Arkansas, according to the state Constitution. Hmm. Republicans on Twitter are calling foul, saying that Crane purged Rutledge from the voter rolls out of political motives.
(I’ll be honest: I’m not sure of the law about this one. If a county clerk discovers that a voter is registered elsewhere, is s/he required to cancel that voter’s registration, or is there some discretion involved? We’ll post more as the story develops.)
I should be clear that being registered to vote in more than one place is neither unethical nor even especially unusual in itself. If you move around a lot, it’s entirely possible to be registered in more than one state at once, and while that may be technically against the rules, it’s usually simply a mistake. It’d be a lot of effort (and a lot of felony criminal liability) to try to exploit being registered in two states for the purposes of casting a single extra ballot.
This is exactly why arguments for voter ID and various other election “integrity” schemes are so spurious: dotting I’s and crossing T’s on voter registration is the last thing on most of our minds, and disenfranchising voters because of technicalities is a terrible way to run a democracy.
Then again, in the case of Rutledge, she’s not just any voter: She’s running for one of the highest offices in the state, and the fact is simply that technicalities get magnified by the spotlight of the campaign. (As for voter ID — she supports it, of course.)