Mark Martin seeks to pry into private lives of Voter ID plaintiffs | Arkansas Blog

Friday, April 25, 2014

Mark Martin seeks to pry into private lives of Voter ID plaintiffs

Posted By on Fri, Apr 25, 2014 at 4:03 PM

SNOOPER IN CHIEF: Mark Martin wants to pry into private lives of plaintiffs in voter ID suit.
  • SNOOPER IN CHIEF: Mark Martin wants to pry into private lives of plaintiffs in voter ID suit.
Filings in the pending lawsuit challenging the Voter ID law show that Republican Secretary of State Mark Martin wants to pry into the private lives of plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

Martin, a defendant in the case, is seeking access to medical benefit, tax and other records of the plaintiffs. Jeff Priebe, attorney in the lawsuit, has filed a motion to quash the subpoenas.

Martin's attorney, Martha Adcock, has asked the state Health Department for any records of benefits the plaintiffs have received, such as nutritional aid to mothers and children. She has asked the Human Services Department for any records of benefits  received by plaintiffs through Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps or otherwise. Martin also wants to see the plaintiffs' state and federal tax returns. The requests filed with Priebe's motion don't indicate the rationale for requesting these records. They also ask for information provided by plaintiffs to receive the benefits.

Priebe puts his objection more calmly than I would. For example:

Plaintiffs’ tax  returns are of no discovery relevance or evidentiary value on this voting rights matter,  especially at this juncture. Given the subpoenas and discovery, Counsel for Plaintiffs is  concerned about Counsel for Defendants seeking information (whether via subpoena or  by deposition) about these matters; especially given that Defendants have not  answered or otherwise responded to the Complaint or the Preliminary Injunction pleadings.

He wants subpoenas quashed and a protective order issued against this sort of discovery.

It is outrageous. And illustrates the Republican Voter ID mindset.. The law is meant to discourage voting by poor, elderly, infirm and other outliers in society. These types of voters tend to hold a more positive view of government. They tend to vote Democratic.

Republicans seem to  think anyone who doesn't have a driver's license must be a crook or deadbeat. This was evidenced the other day when Republican State Election Commissioner Stu Soffer took great glee in blasting the press with some minor charges filed against one of the plaintiffs.

Misdemeanors don't disqualify a voter. Food stamps don't disqualify a voter. The amount of tax a voter pays isn't a standard for entering the voting booth. Receipt of Medicaid or Medicare benefits isn't a bar to voting. Free milk for an infant doesn't disqualify its mother at the polls.

But look. You have a leading representative of the party of small government and the party of individual freedom seeking to pry into the corners of the private lives of people who want nothing more than to exercise the voting franchise under the explicitly clear terms of the Arkansas Constitution. They are 18 years old, residents of Arkansas and already registered to vote. Nothing further is required except their signature on voting books. The Constitution clearly says no further obstacles may be placed in their path by law, rule or nosy Republicans.

This is a grave affront. What these bullies will do to the least of us they will do to everyone. The mere request should be ground for voters to prevent Mark Martin from having the legal responsibility for voting supervision in Arkansas.

I'm reminded that his legal henchwoman, Martha Adcock, came to the secretary of state from the Arkansas Family Council. I've always found this professed Christian political lobby one of the meanest in the public arena. Another case in point. What's next? Rummaging in underwear drawers and a review of plaintiffs' computer hard drives?

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