The open line: Election filings continue; private option enrollment tops 105,000 | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The open line: Election filings continue; private option enrollment tops 105,000

Posted By on Tue, Feb 25, 2014 at 3:49 PM

The Tuesday line is open. Final notes:

* ELECTION FILINGS CONTINUEYou can go here to find the latest list of state candidates. There were more anticipated filings today, including Democrat Susan Inman's previously announced opposition to Secretary of State Mark Martin, a Republican who also filed today. Martin made news today for another reason: His influence on Rep. Mary Lou Slinkard, a vote for the private option in 2013 but now a "nay" on an even more conservative bill. Martin opposes the bill. Rumors of the term-limited Slinkard's interest in a job in Martin's office after her legislative service turned into a linkage betweena job and her vote. A spokesman for Martin said no such deal had been struck. He said he didn't know, however, if Slinkard had talked to anyone in the office about future employment. Slinkard didn't respond to our questions. Inman, who has 30 years of experience in election administration, stuck to core issues:

Inman said that in the January 2014 special election for Craighead County’s State Senate District 21, approximately half of all absentee ballots cast were disqualified. She attributed the disqualifications to a lack of voter education and information about Act 595 of 2013, which is the state’s new voter identification law. Inman placed blame on Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin. “Disqualification of those votes could have been prevented if Mark Martin had provided the proper leadership and voter education,” she said.

Martin, the Republican incumbent, has been criticized for spending irregularities, problems with voter registration, and political partisanship since early in his term as Secretary of State. In August, a Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge ruled Martin had violated state law by hiring private attorneys rather than using the Attorney General to represent and advise his office

* ENJOY IT WHILE YOU CAN: The state said today that 105,561 Arkansans now have coverage through the private option version of Medicaid expansion. It has not yet been reauthorized by the legislature for another year, so enjoy it now.

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