Doyle Webb: State GOP chair fights lawsuit to make it easier and safer to vote in November.

Arkansas Republican Party Chair Doyle Webb and state Rep. Doug House, a Republican, asked a circuit judge today to dismiss the lawsuit aimed at clearing up a rule that could discourage people from voting by mail absentee ballot in November to avoid mass contact wit people at polls during the coronavirus epidemic.

Their pretext for dismissing the lawsuit by four voters is that any reason will do to sign, with a penalty of perjury, a statement on an absentee ballot application that a voter will be “unavoidably” absent from polls on election day.

Their filings claim that the lawsuit would somehow open the day to voting by unqualified people, though all the normal rules of identification and signature would still be required. They raise the possibility of “vote tampering” and “vote harvesting” based on rank speculation alone and an absence of meaningful incidents of that anywhere unfettered mail voting is allowed. They also say House has concerns about the reliability of mail delivery.

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At the same time, they say removing a reason for voting absentee would open the door to fraud they also argue that any excuse will do to meet the “unavoidable absence” standard.

The Republican Party says it should be able to intervene because Secretary of State John Thurston is the defendant, but laws come from the legislature.

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The motion to intervene and dismiss argues that the plaintiffs have failed to state a claim under state law and proper parties aren’t joined.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has resisted doing anything about making voter safer in November, though some Republicans in other states have done so. In Arkansas apparently, fewer votes are still Republican Party religion.

I did learn today that the state Board of Election Commissioners, a Republican-controlled board from which the governor is supposedly awaiting advice, will meet at 1:30 p.m. July 22, moving close to the time that county clerks and election commissions need to get moving on making election preparations, particularly if they are to change significantly.