Wednesday, October 1, 2014

RNLA Responds to Dirty Tricks by Arkansas Official Illegally Cancelling Registration of Republican Attorney General Candidate

The RNLA has responded to news that Larry Crane, a Democratic County Clerk in Arkansas, has cancelled the voter registration of the Republican candidate for Attorney General, Leslie Rutledge, a step almost certainly in violation of federal law. The clerk, citing Rutledge’s registration in both Washington, DC and Arkansas, cancelled the candidate’s registration on Tuesday, only 34 days before the November election notwithstanding the fact that Rutledge renewed her voter registration and voted in Arkansas after no longer residing in Washington, DC. The National Voter Registration Act prohibits officials from conducting these types of activities within 90 day period before a federal election. 

RNLA Chairman J. Randy Evans stated the following:

“Having served on a state election board, I know that one of the most fundamental rules is that under the National Voter Registration Act voters cannot be systematically removed from voter rolls within 90 days of a federal election.  Yet, that is exactly what the Democrats have done in Arkansas.  The fact is that it is a clear and unmistakable attempt at the most harmful kind of voter suppression in violation of federal law – removing a qualified female voter from the rolls notwithstanding her valid registration and actual votes in the last 4 elections in violation of her civil rights.  Democrats should be embarrassed.”

State and federal law provide for very specific procedures for removing a voter from the voter rolls and places significant restrictions on local officials from cancelling voters’ registration records within a 90 day period before a federal election. The Arkansas Secretary of State has already commented on this issue and in a statement to local press recognizes as much:

"My role as Chief Elections Official is to protect all voters' rights, whether you're a candidate on the ballot or a citizen of Arkansas. There are very limited circumstances in which a county clerk can remove a voter from the voter registration rolls. The law is clear under the National Voter Registration Act Section 52 USC § 20507 and Arkansas Constitution Amendment 51 § 11," said Secretary of State Mark Martin. "If a county clerk violates federal election law, then it becomes a matter for the U.S. Attorney."

Luckily enough there is also a private right of action under the National Voter Registration Act. Perhaps if the U.S. Attorney takes no action, one of the left wing so-called “voting rights” groups who have wasted no time in in the past suing election officials for actual valid voter registration list maintenance activities will step in on behalf of Rutledge and take action against the Pulaski clerk for his illegal action? We will see how concerned these groups are when the target is a Republican running for office.

Moreover, Crane never notified officials in Washington, DC when Rutledge registered in Arkansas, thereby neglecting his affirmative duty under state and federal law to notify the election jurisdiction where the new voter was previously registered. In sum, Crane's inaction and incompetence created the very scenario that he then cited as reason to cancel Rutledge's voter registration in Arkansas. 

Here is a link to Rutledge's statement. 

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