The Arkansas Democratic Party belatedly received information requested from Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin about his mishandling of information about voter eligibility, but the party isn’t satisfied with the response and still may sue.
Its statement from DPA Legal Counsel Chris Burks:
“Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin broke the law by not providing public documents on time. We are reviewing the documents that were finally provided today. Even if we are assured that all public documents have been released, we will likely file suit to ensure that public officials obey the law on time. The Arkansas Constitution reads that political power is inherent in the people. No government official is above the rights of the people.”
From DPA Chair Vincent Insalaco:
“Mark Martin continues to show a disturbing disregard for the rule of law. Arkansas’s Freedom of Information Act is clear; our request for records was equally clear, specific and valid. Mark Martin broke the law.
Martin appears to be withholding public information to cover for his own inept performance as Arkansas’s Secretary of State. County clerks must now continue to devote resources and employee hours to fix a complex problem that Secretary of State Mark Martin created.
Our sacred right to vote continues to be a core value of the Democratic Party of Arkansas. We will always fight to make sure that every vote counts. We are very concerned about possible violations of the Voting Rights Act and will continue to closely monitor the situation.”
The Republican-leaning Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported this morning that communications it received under the Freedom of Information Act indicated Martin’s office had objected to a lack of specificity in Burks’ request and also declined to provide the information in an electronic form.
Martin sent more than 7,700 names of people potentially ineligible to vote because of criminal records to county clerks that he knew when he did it that the list was flawed. Some clerks have simply removed names. Others have endeavored to make checks. Martin contends verification of data isn’t his responsibility. Others believe the constitution, while pointing him to use of Arkansas Crime Information Center data, also guides the secretary of state to use that information in concert with other data to provide accurate information. Martin has shown little interest in correcting the possibility that eligible voters have been stricken from the rolls.