As of Tuesday, the Republican candidate for Attorney-General in Arkansas is no longer a registered Arkansas voter. It turns out that Leslie Rutledge registered to vote in Arkansas, DC and possibly Virginia. Of course, Rutledge claims the Democrats did it’. They’re targetting her! Republicans are being persecuted!
According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Pulaski County Clerk, Larry Crane learned of Rutledge’s multiple registrations last week. He decided to remove Gov. Huckabee’s former legal aid, from Arkansas voting rolls when he confirmed she registered in multiple places after she registered in Pulaski County in 2008.
Predictably, Rutledge claimed the decision was”politically motivated” and it’s all about trying to help her Democratic opponent.
In a statement, she released on Wednesday morning, Rutledge tried to place blame for her violation of election law everywhere, except where it belongs which is par for the course whenever a Republican gets caught violating the law.
She went on to say,
Taking a person’s right to vote away from them, as Democrat Larry Crane has done, is reprehensible and a desperate attempt to help the campaign of a Democratic candidate who lacks the experience and good judgment to protect the citizens of our great state. Who will Mr. Crane target next? Will Mr. Crane and his Democratic cronies now manipulate the voter file to remove more qualified Republican voters from the role?
To suggest that it is reprehensible to take a person’s vote away in the name of rigging an election is rich coming from a Republican.
Few would dispute that efforts to take a person’s vote away from them is reprehensible. The fact is Republicans in Texas, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida and other states have done just that to hundreds of thousands of American voters in a systematic effort to disenfranchise minorities, women, the poor, seniors and students. Yes, that is reprehensible!
Unlike Rutledge, these are people who registered to vote in one location. They didn’t break any laws, but they have been targeted by Republican lawmakers for years in the name of helping Republicans win elections. But hey, when a Republican registers to vote in multiple places, they are being persecuted by Democrats who have the audacity to enforce election laws.
The fact that Rutledge is the second State Republican candidate found to be registered to vote in multiple locations is reprehensible. Kathy Myalls was registered to vote in Illinois and in Wisconsin, simultaneously. She admitted it. Yet, Myalls remains a Republican candidate for Illinois’ General Assembly with blessings from the State Republican Party.
Rutledge is someone with a legal background, aspiring to be the Attorney-General of Arkansas. Surely, she understands that when she registered to vote in multiple places she was breaking the law. The fact is her actions were deliberate. Whether she registered on line or in person, she took multiple steps to register in places that were not her home state. More to the point, since Rutledge is no longer an eligible voter in Arkansas, it’s very possible that she is ineligible to run for the public office.
Attorney and Liberal Blogger, Matt Campbell, refers to Article 19, section 3, of the Arkansas Constitution. ”No persons shall be elected to, or appointed to fill a vacancy in, any office who does not possess the qualifications of an elector.” He goes on to say “the qualifications of an elector” are defined in Article 3, section 1, and they include that the person must be “Lawfully registered to vote in the election. Which means, of course, that, if you aren’t lawfully registered to vote in the election, you cannot run for office in that election.
Rutledge could try to re-register. However, Rutledge has other problems that won’t be resolved if she re-registers.
First, candidates must file an affidavit of eligibility at or before noon on the filing deadline. When Rutledge signed her eligibility affidavit she said she is eligible to hold the office of Attorney-General, when she was not. That opens her up to the misdemeanor criminal charge of false swearing. It’s also a Class D felony for someone to “vote in any election in the state unless the person is a qualified elector in this state and has registered to vote in the manner provided by law.” Moreover, anyone convicted of a voting related felony “shall be barred from holding public office or employment in any of the department of the state from the date of his or her conviction.”
This is one of those rare moments in which justice is both poetic and ironic.