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Ark. Students Sue for Right to Vote

October 26, 2002

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) _ In a federal lawsuit the state hopes to lose, the governor’s daughter and other college students claim a judge wrongly disqualified them as local voters because they live on campus.

Clark County Judge John Thomas ruled Tuesday that 912 students who live at two Arkadelphia colleges are not truly county residents and must register to vote in their home counties.

Because the deadline to register for the Nov. 5 election had passed, the ruling effectively keeps students at Ouachita Baptist University and Henderson State University out of the voting booth.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued the state Friday on behalf of students including Sarah Huckabee, who is fighting for the chance to vote for both of her parents. Gov. Mike Huckabee is seeking re-election and his wife, Janet, is running for secretary of state.

``It’s almost like taxation without representation,″ Sarah Huckabee said Friday. ``They thought that because we were young that they could walk all over us, but obviously that’s not the case.″

Secretary of State Sharon Priest said Friday that she had not been served with the lawsuit but added, ``My instruction to my attorney is to admit that the judge did the wrong thing.″

``Basically, I want to lose this case. I know that sounds stupid, but I think that this was a travesty of justice. I want those kids to have the right to vote,″ she said.

Priest said she hopes the court moves quickly to reinstate the students’ voting rights.

Thomas ruled in a lawsuit filed by the son of a justice of the peace candidate being challenged by a Ouachita Baptist graduate.

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