- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 1, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - An Arkansas election official said Wednesday he removed Republican attorney general hopeful Leslie Rutledge from the voter rolls because she also is registered to vote in Washington, D.C., a move the GOP candidate denounced as politically motivated.

Pulaski County Clerk Larry Crane, a Democrat, said he canceled Rutledge’s voter registration after his office learned she is registered to vote “in at least one other jurisdiction.” The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette first reported about Crane’s decision in Wednesday’s edition.

Rutledge, a former attorney for the Republican National Committee and ex-Gov. Mike Huckabee, is running against Democratic state Rep. Nate Steel. Rutledge said she planned to ask Crane to reinstate her voter registration.

Rutledge said she followed the instructions of Crane’s staff when she registered to vote in March 2013. Rutledge said she has voted legally in four elections in Pulaski County over the past year and questioned why Crane didn’t remove her until after she became the GOP’s nominee for attorney general. Rutledge filed to run in February and won her party’s nomination in a June runoff election.

“Mr. Crane should be ashamed for using partisan politics to disenfranchise a voter in an attempt to hijack an election,” Rutledge said in the statement released by her campaign. She also claimed Crane’s decision to remove her from the voter rolls violated state and federal law.

Crane said he began looking into Rutledge’s voter registration history last week and said he was compelled by the state constitution to remove her after confirming she was still registered to vote in Washington. Crane said Rutledge filled out a change of address form upon returning to Arkansas rather than a new registration and did not indicate she was registered elsewhere.

“I did what the law requires,” Crane said.

In an interview later Wednesday, Rutledge said she had been told by Crane’s staff that she didn’t need a new voter registration and was told to instead fill out the address change form.

“I can assure people I am and will continue to be a registered voter in Pulaski County and that I will be a qualified elector to serve under the (state) constitution,” she said.

Crane said as far as he knew, the only way for Rutledge to return to the voter rolls was to re-register. Arkansas’ voter registration deadline for the Nov. 4 general election is Monday.

The Democrat-Gazette reported that Rutledge registered to vote in Washington in July 2008 but never voted in any elections there and voted absentee in Pulaski County in the November 2008 general election. The paper reported she registered to vote in Alexandria, Virginia, in September 2010.

Rutledge and Steel are running to succeed Democratic Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, who is barred by term limits from seeking re-election.

State Democratic Party Chairman Vince Insalaco criticized Rutledge over the news of her canceled registration, saying it called into question her qualifications to be the state’s top attorney. The Arkansas GOP asked the state Board of Election Commissioners to appoint a monitor to observe elections in Pulaski County, citing concerns about Crane’s decision.


Follow Andrew DeMillo on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ademillo .

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