MARK MARTIN: He's shared your voter information, so why not take a look at his?

Here’s an important story from Mother Jones not unrelated to Donald Trump’s dragnet for voter data.

It’s about a systematic effort by ideological lawyers to purge voter rolls, coincidentally in areas with heavy minority populations. Problematic addresses and low election participation are the wedges being used to take tens of thousands off voter rolls. Should the affected voters discover this when they get motivated to participate in, say, an important presidential election, they’ll be out of luck.


A favored tactic is mailing cards to verify addresses. If they aren’t returned, the vote purgers try to get names stricken. This “caging” was employed by now Arkansas Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin in Florida to help elect George W. Bush. Casualties in that vote suppression included many black military members who were serving overseas when the address verifications went out.

Imagine what Kris Kobach, the vote-suppressing Kansas secretary of state, can do as vice chair of the Trump “election integrity commission” which is trying to assemble a vast data bank on every registered voter in America.


This data drive has prompted resistance from most states, including those with Republicans in charge of the voter machinery. One exception: Secretary of State Mark Martin of Arkansas. As we reported, he transferred all public voter information to Kobach’s commission this week.

Now comes this news: We’re No. 1!


From The Hill:

Arkansas is the only state as of Friday to submit data to President Trump’s voter integrity commission, according to the Justice Department.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has played along with Martin’s compliance, saying only non-sensitive public information is being supplied. True, but ….. People are very sensitive about having their personal information widely shared, even if it is available for public inspection. It’s one thing to know that you can buy a computer file at Martin’s office for $2.50 that lists 1.7 million names of voters with tons of personal information about each. It’s another to know that it’s being floated around, massaged and perhaps being put into more readily accessible form.

I can think of no better way to illustrate what’s been shared than to give you an example —  the information transferred by Secretary of State Mark Martin about Mark Martin.

Mark Russell Martin
Washington County
VoterID: 728020 [unique ID specific to these documents]
RegistrantStatus: A [active]
Date of Birth: 2/18/1968
Date of Registration: 12/1/2003

Phone Number: 479-846-1889 [This is optional information. Many don’t supply it.]


123 N Pittman Street
Prairie Grove, AR 72753

Precinct Name: Prairie Gr City
Precinct Designation Code: 560
Precinct Part Name: 560-023 Prairie Gr City
PrecinctPartDesignationCode: 23

Party: O [Registration by party is optional in Arkansas.]
Date of Party Affiliation: 3/20/2006

Date Last Voted: 11/8/2016

Presidential Primary 2008 Party Voted: R
Presidential Primary 2008 How Voted: P

Primary 2008 Party Voted: R
Primary 2008 How Voted: P

Primary 2010 Party Voted: R
Primary 2010 How Voted: E

Primary Runoff 2010 Party Voted: R
Primary Runoff 2010 How Voted: E

Primary 2014 Party Voted: R
Primary 2014 How Voted: E


Primary Runoff 2014 Party Voted: R
Primary Runoff 2014 How Voted: E

Primary 2016 Party Voted: R
Primary 2016 How Voted: E

CongressionalDistrict: 3
StateSenateDistrict: 2
StateRepDistrict: 80
School District: 195

AND A POSSIBLE CORRECTION: I reader thinks the legend E and P for how voted stands for early voting or voting at precinct.  I made an earlier statement about it standing for electronic or paper ballot based on an explanation I’d been given. I don’t have information at hand at home to definitively clear that confusion.

I can’t vouch for the accuracy of this information, only that it is on the current file maintained in Martin’s office. My own information was accurate, the same as when I put it out for public consumption when we did an article about privacy in the era of the Internet. I’ve become a fatalist about protecting information. It’s just about impossible. But others feel strongly, as I learned in the famous controversy over providing an Internet link to the list of concealed carry permit holders in Arkansas. The availability of addresses was a particularly sore point with critics. That led to legislation that closed the records to public inspection.

This information brings up a related point: I got some pushback yesterday from a veteran Republican political operative to my emphasis about how much information Martin is releasing. What’s the big deal, he said, particularly from a guy who once published a link to gun permits?

This is his real concern, I’m sure, and it’s underscored by Republican resistance to this data trolling operation. If enough people get mad about it, laws might be introduced to close voter registration information to ready public inspection. That data is MOST used by political parties and candidates to identify allies and use in direct mail and get-out-the-vote campaigns. He does NOT want to lose public access to this information.

In truth, this cow is out of the barn already. But given Kris Kobach’s history — and the suggestion in the Mother Jones article that the vote purging efforts of a nonprofit group might become public policy of the Trump Justice Department — resistance is in order against government overreach.

And speaking of that: Where’s Attorney General Rutledge about THIS kind of government overreach?