The Leader in Jacksonville editorializes — too calmly in our view — about Republican resistance in Lonoke County to extending early voting to Carlisle and England. The Republican member of the election commission sees no need for early voting in these more regions, though he approves of it in Republican Cabot, where he lives. It is coincidental, I’m sure, that the Republican vote is stronger around Cabot than around England.
Because the majority of Arkansas statewide officeholders are Democratic, Democrats hold two of the three seats on each county election commission in Arkansas. But a unanimous vote is required on polling places in the counties.
Chuck Eick, representative of the Lonoke County Republican Committee on the elections commission, balked at the idea of having one week of early voting in Carlisle and England, citing the cost of paying for voting machines. He likes the idea of two weeks of early voting in Cabot and Lonoke, but the Democrats wanted to extend the franchise to Carlisle and England.
The commission is to meet again Friday. Let’s hope Republican Eick realizes how un-American — dare we say un-democratic — it is to support greater access to the ballot box for some people and not for others.
Early voting is a convenience that encourages broader participation, the editorial notes. In a time when evidence abounds that Republicans oppose broader participation — think the Voter ID law — Republican Eick could give a tangible piece of evidence that the GOP favors voting by alls.
Might we see in this what the future might look like if Republicans seize control of county election commissions?