Max here, reading the ongoing political drama from Vienna.
The saga of Leslie Rutledge’s voter registration is particularly interesting.
In attempting to re-establish a voting presence in Arkansas, she didn’t fill out the right form. She should have known better, as Blue Hog carefully lays out. She had done so properly once before in 2006. (He has useful pictures of relevant forms.) He adds to the record the fact that she didn’t assess property in Pulaski County during the missing years. That’s further proof that, when she returned from Washington and Virginia (both jurisdictions where she remains a registered voter), that she was required to file a new registration form, not merely a change of address form within Pulaski County.
OK, she screwed up — by design or accident. Either is not a high recommendation for someone seeking to be the state’s top lawyer. True, too, that her screwup was discovered by political opponents wishing to do her harm.
But my questions:
What would Leslie Rutledge do?
What would the undercover thug Mark Martin, who surfaces publicly as secretary of state only through an occasional prepared statement (has anybody seen him in bipartisan public recently?), in this case an innuendo-laden piece of nonsense, do?
Or what would Doyle Webb and the Republican Party do if they were in positions of responsibility?
Simply put: Rutledge or Martin or Doyle Webb is a county clerk. A complaint arrives that a voter is registered in two other states. That voter filed a change of address form, not the required new registration, to be eligible to vote in Arkansas?
What is the proper response?
If Larry Crane’s reliance on the Arkansas Constitution is a dirty Chicago-style trick, what would a Republican do?
We know the proper response. Because we saw Democrats do so in, among other places, Mississippi County, where
Leslie Rutledge grew up — sorry I was thinking of another GOP candidate, Ann Clemmer. Faced with legitimate absentee ballots from fine older people the county clerk and election commissioners had known forever — but ballots that didn’t include an ID newly required under the Republican voter ID law — the elected officials said: We must follow the law. These ballots were disqualified. Unfortunate. Outrageous even as far as personal impact on the voter was concerned.
So I ask a serious question: If Larry Crane did wrong what was the PROPER response for a Republican official faced with an identical fact situation regarding a voter?
And be sure to consider this fact scenario presented by Blue Hog in assessing Rutledge’s actions, which in one case went beyond a ministerial mistake into the realm of potential voter fraud:
… on July 3, 2008, Leslie Rutledge took the affirmative step of registering to vote in Washington D.C. The registration form, like all voter-registration forms in the United States, required her to list an address for her permanent residence. She listed 129 4th SE St., Washington, D.C. 20003.
…Just over two months later, on September 15, 2008, Leslie Rutledge requested an absentee ballot from Pulaski County, Arkansas, claiming that she was going to be unavoidably absent from the state on election day and asking that the ballot be sent to her previously registered address, 3322 Shenandoah Valley Drive in Little Rock. More importantly, at least in this context, she checked the box on the application for an absentee ballot that stated, “I reside within the county in which I am registered to vote.”