Daniels declares mayor’s suit an ‘assault on military voting’

A challenger to incumbent Pine Bluff Mayor Carl A. Redus Jr. said that Redus’ lawsuit to block the currently scheduled Nov. 6 mayoral election “has the potential of breaking the law.”

In a Friday news release, Peter F. Daniels Jr. said he was referring to the federal MOVE (Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment) Act adopted by Congress in 2009.

Daniels said his campaign plans to seek federal intervention on Redus’ suit on behalf of military voters if the mayor “does not drop” it.

“The mayor’s actions are not only the worst assault on voting rights since the Jim Crow days, but the lawsuit also seeks to suppress, put at jeopardy and violate the MOVE Act by putting restrictions on Jefferson County Clerk (Patricia Royal Johnson) in her official capacity,” he said.

Johnson, Gov. Mike Beebe, Secretary of State Mark Martin and county Election Commissioners Christian “Trey” Ashcraft, Stu Soffer and Shara Williams were named as defendants in Redus’ suit, which was filed Wednesday in Jefferson County Circuit Court.

Redus’ attorney Gene McKissic filed the document asking a circuit judge to issue a restraining order that would prevent the mayoral election Nov. 6. McKissic cited an Arkansas law that governs when an election for mayor is held in cities of less than 50,000.

McKissic said if Redus were re-elected this year, he would have to run for re-election in 2014 after having served as mayor for two years of a four-year term, and would suffer “irreparable harm” by being denied the additional two years provided for by state law and Redus would have “no adequate remedy” in the law.

Daniels described Redus’ suit as “selfish.”

Redus said in Thursday’s edition of The Commercial that he is not seeking to block the mayoral election this November but is simply looking to follow the law.

Daniels disagreed, alleging violations of the law had already occurred.

“It is my intention to address these violations with the Jefferson County prosecuting attorney’s office,” said Daniels.

“It is very apparent to me this mayor is only concerned about himself and his personal financial gain,” said Daniels. “He is not concerned about the voting rights of the citizens in Pine Bluff nor those fighting to protect this nation and the rights we enjoy.

“As a military veteran, I want to protect the voting rights of those serving in the military, fighting on foreign soil, as well as all the voting public in the City of Pine Bluff,” Daniels said.

Meanwhile, Stu Soffer of White Hall, a member of the Jefferson County and state election commissions, confirmed that the MOVE legislation requires that all requested military ballots – both domestic and overseas, including dependents – and overseas citizens be transmitted to voters at least 45 days before each federal election, if requested by that time.

Soffer forwarded information to a reporter that stated the 45-day deadline for the upcoming election is Saturday, Sept, 22.