In the wake of revelations about the flawed felon data the Secretary of State Mark Martin’s office provided to county clerks, the Democratic Party of Arkansas filed an extensive Freedom of Information Act request. Today, the secretary of state made a blanket denial of the party’s request, which is illegal under FOIA. Even if some of the records requested are exempt, the secretary of state still has to provide the records that aren’t. Meanwhile, in a similar, but separate request, the Arkansas Criminal Information Center, provided 906 pages of documents related to the data.
We’ve had our own problems getting answers out of the secretary of state’s office on this issue.
Add this to another likely lawsuit the secretary of state is facing.
From the DPA:
LITTLE ROCK – Today, the Democratic Party of Arkansas, released the following statement:
From DPA Chair Vincent Insalaco:
“Mark Martin, Arkansas’s Republican Secretary of State, is breaking the law and may be putting Arkansans most sacred right – the right to vote – in jeopardy. Today, our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the information relayed to county clerks from the Arkansas Crime Information Center (ACIC), which may affect the voter registration of thousands of Arkansans, was unlawfully denied. Since this issue came to light in late July, we have learned that the original 4,000 Arkansans in question may in reality be up to 7,000 Arkansans, or more affected by this mistake.
“Due to Mark Martin’s failure to comply with our valid and legal FOIA request, the exact number of Arkansans affected is still not known. A similar FOIA request to ACIC yielded 906 pages of documents including correspondence from officials at the office of Arkansas’s Secretary of State. This proves that the Secretary of State is withholding documents relevant to our request in an effort to cover their mistake.
From DPA Legal Counsel Chris Burks:
“Secretary of State Mark Martin has broken the law. Arkansas voters have the right to know the status of their voter registration. The ACIC has complied with all FOIA requests in a timely manner. The Democratic Party is considering filing suit in state court to compel the Secretary of State to comply with our request. The Secretary of State may also be subject to suit in federal court for the voter registration list errors. We will get to the bottom of the mess they’ve made. Once again, Arkansas Republicans have exposed the State to litigation, wasting precious tax dollars that could be used to send children to public Pre-K.”