Political notes: Congress, lt. governor, Pulaski election commission | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Political notes: Congress, lt. governor, Pulaski election commission

Posted By on Tue, Jul 30, 2013 at 6:58 AM

A roundup of political items in the mailbox this morning:

* 4TH DISTRICT CONGRESS: Democrat Janis Percefull of Hot Springs says she will formally announce her candidacy for Republican Rep. Tom Cotton's congressional seat at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 8, at th Quapaw Cafe on Central Avenue in Hot Springs. She adds:

I will not be taking questions at this time as I would like the focus to be on my announcement. However, I will be saying a few special words to the media representatives before beginning my formal announcement. The entire event should not take more than 10 minutes.

* CURRY DROPS RACE FOR LT. GOV.: As hinted at here earlier, Democrat Dianne Curry of Little Rock has now said she won't run for lieutenant governor but will consider a race for 2nd District Congress. A lengthy statement said, in part: "We have to unite all our efforts to make sure we hold the Governorship, retake the Lt. Governor's office, retake the Secretary of State's office, and most of all retake the State Legislature of Arkansas for the people of Arkansas."

CHRIS BURKS
  • CHRIS BURKS
* VOTER ID CRITICIZED BY NEW ELECTION COMMISSIONER: I received a note from Little Rock lawyer Chris Burks, elected by the County Democratic Committee to a seat on the Pulaski County Election Commission. It's the first time I can recall some political messaging about this, though the commissions are enmeshed in politics by virtue of a membership dictated by majority partisan hold on statewide offices. (Two members of the majority party to one from the minority party.) Republicans have targeted the election machinery to produce electorates, as in Florida, more to their liking. Said Burks:

Burks’s campaign called for reforming recent voter ID laws in Arkansas. Burks stated that, as Commissioner, he would carry out the laws as they are currently written. However, Burks stressed that the recent Arkansas voter ID laws will unfairly impact minority and elderly voters without the means to comply.

... Burks’s comments regarding Arkansas’s voter ID laws reference Act 595 of the 2012 Arkansas Legislature. Act 595 requires voters in 2014 to cast a provisional ballot if they do not have a certain type of identification. If the voter then does not produce a certain type of proof of their identity by the Monday following the election, their provisional ballot cannot be counted.

Vigorous efforts will be required to be sure the new law doesn't discourage voter participation. Burks recognizes it and is now part of the machinery overseeing elections in Pulaski.

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