But the ID laws won’t have any effect on any form of election fraud that we have known in this or any other state. Voting fraud is almost never committed by random individuals going to the polls to cast someone else’s vote for them, which is what the ID law might deter. Fraud is committed not by voters but by those conducting elections—sheriffs and county clerks—with the complicity of precinct judges and clerks, most often through the manipulation of absentee ballots. Even that is not much in evidence anymore but it can happen—and still could with photo IDs.
Florida, where vote suppression decided the 2000 presidential election, and its sister states on the seaboard, particularly North Carolina, have taken more draconian steps to curtail voting by blacks and Hispanics, after they were given the green light by the U. S. Supreme Court in the Voting Rights Act decision. Florida’s governor, Rick Scott, said noncitizens were voting illegally in huge numbers (Cubans tended to vote Republican, which was OK, but mainland Hispanics tend more toward Democrats). Republicans produced a pool of 182,000 names of voting noncitizens. It was winnowed down to 2,600 names, which were sent to election supervisors, who found that all but 198 were eligible to vote. Fewer than 40 had voted illegally, whether for Republicans or Democrats nobody knows. A photo ID wouldn’t have stopped them.
There, as in Arkansas, it was a solution in search of a problem. As if we didn’t have real problems.
I never really expected Gov. Mike Beebe, who cut his teeth golfing with the lobby in the Senate, to be a supporter of the Sheffield Nelson-backed initiative to raise the pitifully low severance tax on natural gas. So it wasn't too surprising the other day when he said he'd reconsidered some earlier favorable remarks and now was likely to vote against the measure if it makes the ballot. He said he doesn't want to discourage oil exploration in South Arkansas, a developing energy play.
The new exploration is almost entirely for oil, not gas. The severance tax proposal doesn't apply to oil. Nelson pointed that out after a speech in Sherwood yesterday. The governor's office says the governor knew exactly what he was saying. Yes. I'm sure he did. And the boys over at the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and at gas company offices nodded their heads and said, "Yep, he's still one of ours."
As mentioned here previously, Jason Tolbert will begin blogging again next month in partnership with Roby Brock at Talk Business. Matt "Blue Hog" Campbell is not part of the announced changes, as we had speculated. Democratic operative Michael Cook, however, will also be providing comment and reporting at Roby's site. I still think Matt Campbell isn't far from hitting the web again, Republican harassment or no.
A petition has been filed in probate court seeking a death declaration for John Glasgow, the Little Rock construction company financial officer who's been missing since leaving his home early on the morning of Jan. 28, 2008. His car was later found at Petit Jean State Park, but no trace of him has been found.
Despite extensive searches, a reward of more than $100,000 and international publicity, no evidence has been found that Glasgow is alive, his wife, Melinda, said in a petition filed in probate court Feb. 2. Circuit Judge Vann Smith will consider the petition, as he has other filings related to Glasgow's affairs since his disappearance. No family members have heard from Glasgow, who was chief financial officer of CDI Contractors, and no tips have come in suggesting he's alive.
The pleading says Arkansas law presumes someone is dead if they have been missing five years, but Melinda Glasgow's attorney, Nate Coulter, said there is case law in which declarations of death have been made before that time has elapsed.
"To all who loved and cared about him, the near certitude that he is dead is overwhelming and unbearably painful," the petition said. "Yet, they have no body and no closure. They need to begin moving beyond this painful tragedy."
While offering no theories about Glasgow's disappearance, the petition said Glasgow had no reason to disappear and no history of mental problems. It said it is virtually impossible in the digital age to "disappear" without leaving footprints and it includes an affidavit from an expert in the field of missing persons who said Glasgow is almost certainly dead. Said the petition:
"This is a painful and grievous conclusion for the petitioner and the family of John Glasgow to reach. They above all others would like to see some glimmer of hope that John was alive. She and they, however, have faced the reality that he is in all likelihood not alive.
"Petitioner seeks a declaration of death by the court so that a death certificate can be issued and she can the start the process of healing the loss of her beloved husband and begin an orderly administration of the estate."
Melinda Glasgow already had a power of attorney for her husband's finances, approved by the judge in 2008, that gave her broad discretion in handling the couple's assets. John Glasgow had prepared a document in 1996 giving his wife power of attorney should he become incapacitated, the court record indicates. Glasgow has seven siblings who were given notice of the action last week. His brother Roger has been working with Melinda Glasgow over the last three years in efforts to encourage information about his whereabouts.
A legal notice will be published this week giving 60 days to John Glasgow to contest the petition for declaration of his death. This is essentially a formality to guard against any claims should John Glasgow, against expectations, surface in the future.
Here's the full probate filing, which restates facts of the case and includes the affidavit from the expert on missing persons.
Here's the warning notice to be published this week.
Here's a link to the family website.
Here's a link to an extensive article on the case in Portfolio magazine.
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