An attorney hired by the state Democratic Party told Secretary of State Mark Martin’s office that the latter’s explanations for withholding records about the statewide voter database were “farcical,” “disingenuous” and ultimately “unlawful” in a letter delivered Friday. The letter was written by David Mitchell of the Rose Law Firm. He was hired by the party to represent Chris Burks, general counsel for the party, who had submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the secretary of state’s office on Aug. 3. Although Martin’s office responded with some documents, Burks said Friday’s letter was intended to point out there were still matters outstanding in the original Freedom of Information Act request. The Democrats sought information about flawed data that Martin’s office had entered into the statewide voter database used by county clerks. County clerks use the data to determine which voters are felons whose names should be struck from voter rolls, but the data included felons who had regained the right to vote and others who had never been convicted of a felony.
Chris Powell, a spokesman for Martin, a Republican, initially denied the Freedom of Information Act request. “We do not believe we are under an obligation to disclose these records,” Powell said in an email on Aug. 8.
Then, after Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s office stepped in, Martin’s office said Aug. 10 that it would produce the records, according to the state Democratic Party. The office provided documents, totaling several thousand pages of mostly identical emails, on Aug. 12. Mitchell wrote Friday that the response was inadequate.
Powell declined to comment. Martin has yet to agree to any of several interview requests from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Full Article: Lawyer blasts voter-roll response.