Wanted: Transparency from Secretary of State Mark Martin. Good luck. | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Wanted: Transparency from Secretary of State Mark Martin. Good luck.

Posted By on Wed, May 14, 2014 at 1:48 PM

Both the Arkansas Democratic Party and his Democratic opponent, Susan Inman, called on Secretary of State Mark Martin to stop stonewalling on the subject of his aide Alex Reed. Reed worked in a congressional campaign for Ann Clemmer and questions have since been raised about his handling of campaign finances as treasurer. Reed remains on Martin's payroll, but no longer as a public spokesman for Martin, and Martin has yet to utter a word about the controversy.

Clemmer's campaign has been amending past campaign reports to show that money paid Reed out of campaign money was unauthorized and money originally reported as a loan by him to her campaign was repayment of unauthorized disbursements. Reed served briefly on the Pulaski County Election Commission while an employee of Martin and while a treasurer for the Clemmer campaign, both associations that raise questions under law about membership on election commissions.

Said Inman:

“Arkansans deserve to know whether or not Mark Martin knew about his top aide’s violation of election law. If Arkansans can’t trust the fact that Martin can hold his own staff to follow state and county election law, how can they trust that he his administering fair and nonpartisan elections? Arkansans deserve to know the truth,” Susan Inman said Wednesday.

I have my own transparency request pending with Martin. It concerns a change — seemingly outside state constitutional boundaries — that require people who change address at motor vehicle offices to fill out an entirely new voter registration application, even though they are already legally registered. The constitution calls only for an update of the address in changes to registration at vehicle offices. Martin is claiming a new computer program requires the new burden for voters. I wonder who's been paid to do this work and why it couldn't include fixing the supposed glitch rather than burdening voters.

Martin is also reportedly pressing changes in election rules to make it harder for counties to streamline voting and allow electronic voting on election day from locations other than a voter's own precinct. It could be a boon to voter participation.

A pattern is emerging that suggests Martin is working to pare voter rolls and make voting harder. It fits with the Voter ID initiative that is the centerpiece of Republican vote suppression strategy.

People who believe in voting also want to know what's causing a problem on loss of power with electronic voting machines that is causing problems in transmission of votes.

Martin might have explanations. But neither he nor his office communicates much with media.

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