As noted here, Blanche Lincoln and her husband showed up at St. James Methodist church in West Little Rock to vote this morning and were told that the roll showed them as having already voted. This was due to their prior request of absentee ballots “in the event she would be called to Washington for critical votes.”
In commenting on the propriety under the rules of absentee voting of Lincoln’s just-in-case absentee ballot, I said:
Also, the stories say that Ms. Lincoln’s husband had also requested an absentee ballot and was also forced to vote provisionally. Even if we want to believe Lincoln’s excuse about possibly having to jet back to Washington, that wouldn’t seem to cover her husband; nothing in the requirements says “I need an absentee ballot because my spouse will be unavoidably absent.” So what was his reason for thinking he would be unavoidably absent? And what happened that suddenly made him not be unavoidably absent?
Ignoring for a moment the fact that asking for an absentee ballot months in advance because your wife might have to go to Washington at the last minute does not meet the strictures of the absentee voting rules, there would seem to be an even broader issue at play here. Namely, why is Dr. Steve Lincoln voting in Arkansas at all?
He has a house in Fairfax, Virginia. He is an OB/GYN whose practice is in Fairfax, Virginia. Since graduating from medical school at UAMS in 1986, he has done a residency at East Carolina University; a fellowship at the University of Louisville; and has been a faculty member at the University of Louisville, the University of Mississippi, and the University of Tennessee at Memphis. In fact, about the only strong tie I can see between Dr. Lincoln and the Natural State is that he maintains an active medical license here.
It’s not like once you are registered in an Arkansas county, you are covered forever. According to the Secretary of State, even moving from one Arkansas county to another requires that you change your registration and vote in the county where you actually reside. For people who spend part of their year in Arkansas and part in another state, the website offers this:
Q: My husband and I are retired. We spend winters at home in south Arkansas and summers in the mountains in Colorado. What residence should we use to determine where we are entitled to register and vote?
A: This is a decision you will have to make, but you must choose only one voting location. In general, your residence is where your family lives, where you physically reside, the place you intend to return to live, where your driver’s license says you live, where you claim your homeowner’s property tax exemption, etc. Many factors affect residency.
Dr. and Sen. Lincoln’s family live in Virginia, and their children go to school there. Dr. Lincoln physically resides in Virginia, one assumes, unless he is commuting from Little Rock to Fairfax daily to attend to his practice. It’s a pretty safe bet that Dr. Lincoln intends to return to Fairfax, seeing as how his practice is still open and his children still in school. I have no idea where he is licensed to drive, though neither answer would be surprising at this point. His name is on the house in Virginia, though I can’t say where he takes the property tax exemption. In short, based on the example criteria on the Secretary of State’s website, almost everything would suggest that Dr. Lincoln resides in Virginia.
So, again I ask, why is he voting in Arkansas?