Editor, the Commercial:
The thumbs down editorial (“Go Home”) and Steve Brawner’s column about House Bill 1712 to prohibit completed ballot photographs implies to me both writers suffer from CRS. That is because both forgot or ignored former representative (and now felon) Hudson Hallum’s vote-buying capers in Crittenden County.
House Bill 1712 has absolutely nothing to do with limiting the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The media cannot now photograph a completed ballot on an iVotronic screen. Nothing changes in that regard.
House Bill 1712 simply protects the right to having a secret ballot, reduces Election Day distractions inside of polling places, and stops vote-buyers from practicing their trade (or at least makes it more difficult). Now vote sellers trade their “I voted” sticker for the going price. Let’s not make it easier for them.
This bill was introduced as part of the Arkansas County Election Commissions Association (ACECA) legislative initiative. A bipartisan committee of experienced election commissioners, county clerks, and election coordinators formulated this bill based on experience. Give them credit for recognizing what is in the best interest of having fair elections in Arkansas.
I again extend an invitation for members of the press registered to vote in Jefferson County to work a full day from dawn to dusk as a poll worker. That will enable you to better understand Election Day events and do a better job of reporting them.
Vice President of ACECA