Lagrone calls Daniels 'AWOL' | Arkansas Blog

Friday, August 11, 2006

Lagrone calls Daniels 'AWOL'

Posted By on Fri, Aug 11, 2006 at 11:14 AM

Republican secretary of state candidate Jim Lagrone today called the Democratic incumbent Charlie Daniels "AWOL" on ensuring that overseas military personnel are able to vote in Arkansas elections.

In a press release, Lagrone said Daniels only turned his attention to the issue this week, which is "too little too late." Lagrone cited statistics showing Arkansas with "the worst voting record in the United States for overseas military, with a disenfranchisement rate of almost 51 percent."

According to Lagrone, Daniels is finally saying what Lagrone has said all along, "We must do what we can to assure that ballots reach the troops … on time." Daniels made the statement in a recent Memo to state county clerks and election commissioners. In addition, Daniels’ office issued a Memo this week saying he would be joining the Department of Defense in observing Armed Forces Voters Week in September, in order to raise awareness of voting among military voters. ...

"What about the 51% of military voters who didn’t have their votes counted in the last two elections? And if it weren’t an election year, would Daniels even be working on this issue? Until now, Charlie Daniels didn’t seem to care about military voter disenfranchisement.

"For more than a year one of the main themes in my talks with voters around the state has been the voter disenfranchisement of Arkansas’ military. This is personal with me because my son was serving in Iraq and, through the negligence of Daniels’ office, was not given the right to vote while serving overseas."

Full press release after the jump.

Daniels Was AWOL When It Counted Most

LITTLE ROCK – (Friday, August 11, 2006) – When it comes to the military vote, the current Secretary of State is AWOL, says Republican challenger, Jim Lagrone.

According to Lagrone Daniels is finally saying what Lagrone has said all along, “We must do what we can to assure that ballots reach the troops … on time.” Daniels made the statement in a recent Memo to state county clerks and election commissioners. In addition, Daniels’ office issued a Memo this week saying he would be joining the Department of Defense in observing Armed Forces Voters Week in September, in order to raise awareness of voting among military voters.

“The problem is,” says Lagrone, “it’s too little too late.

“What about the 51% of military voters who didn’t have their votes counted in the last two elections? And if it weren’t an election year, would Daniels even be working on this issue? Until now, Charlie Daniels didn’t seem to care about military voter disenfranchisement.

“For more than a year one of the main themes in my talks with voters around the state has been the voter disenfranchisement of Arkansas’ military.  This is personal with me because my son was serving in Iraq and, through the negligence of Daniels’ office, was not given the right to vote while serving overseas.

“I think Daniels is showing concern – not because he cares, for if he did he would have done something before now – but because I’ve been talking about this issue a lot, and have the proof to back up his lack of effort to assure our Arkansas military has the right to vote."

The proof to which Lagrone refers is in a letter sent to Daniels on April 10, 2006 from Samuel F. Wright, director of the U.S. Military Voting Rights Project. In the letter Wright chastised Daniels and Arkansas as having the worst voting record in the United States for overseas military, with a disenfranchisement rate of almost 51%. The data was released in a recent report by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) on Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting in the 2004 Presidential election.

“I’ve know about this disenfranchisement rate for over a year - which means Daniels’ has too.  Again, why has he waited until 90 days before the 2006 general election to try to fix the problem?” questions Lagrone.  “And with all the problems with have just getting ballots ready for voters who are here, how can he hope to possibly fix this problem at this late date?

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