Pulaski County Election Commissioner Chris Burks says the new Voter ID resulted in disqualification of 20 percent of the absentee ballots cast in yesterday’s Pulaski Tech property tax millage election.
Burks write me:
There were 76 absentee ballots without proper identification out of 384 returned absentee ballots in the Pulaski County Special election today. The 19.8 percent error rate for the IDs alone is better than in Craighead County [where the problem was highlighted in a special state Senate election], but still too high in my view when large elections are sometimes decided by a few votes. The Pulaski County Election Commission declaratory judgment action should be ready to go tonight or in the morning. In my opinion, those absentee ballots returned without ID were 76 real people’s votes that would have otherwise counted but for the sloppily drafted Voter ID bill.
The Pulaski commission has taken the view of the attorney general — that it cannot provide a way for absentee voters who file to mail in the newly required ID to fix the shortcoming after the election. In-person voters have a week to provide ID if they don’t have one at the poll and cast a provisional ballot. The law made no provision for a “cure.” Secretary of State Mark Martin, a Republican trying to dampen criticism of the shortcomings in the law, has invented a “cure” method for the absentee voters though no such process exists in law.
The Pulaski Election Commission plans to sue over the problem and its broad suit might reach infirmities in the broader voter ID law, an invention of Republican interest groups to depress turnout of traditionally Democratic voter constituencies.
PS — The votes are irrelevant in this election. The property millage was crushed 3-1.
PPS — Remember, please, that ballots weren’t disqualified because somebody found a voter misrepresented himself or herself. The voter, probably following long custom, just didn’t include an ID, or the proper ID (it’s ticky), with the ballot. No ID, no vote, no matter how many times you’ve voted in your life or how well your signature matches what’s on file.