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Arkansas Secretary of State Candidate Susan Inman Discusses Campaign with Young Democrats

Freshman+Riley+Cunningham+speaks+with+Susan+Inman+about+volunteering+as+other+Young+Democrats+sign+up+to+work+with+Inman%E2%80%99s+campaign.+%28Photo+by+Jacob+Major%29
Freshman Riley Cunningham speaks with Susan Inman about volunteering as other Young Democrats sign up to work with Inman’s campaign. (Photo by Jacob Major)

Freshman Riley Cunningham speaks with Susan Inman about volunteering as other Young Democrats sign up to work with Inman’s campaign. (Photo by Jacob Major)

Freshman Riley Cunningham speaks with Susan Inman about volunteering as other Young Democrats sign up to work with Inman’s campaign. (Photo by Jacob Major)

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Arkansas Secretary of State candidate Susan Inman joined the Young Democrats on November 8 for a speaking engagement where she tackled the most important issues of the day. Ranging from voter ID laws to the new challenges officials and voters face in maintaining election integrity, the progressive Democratic hopeful left no stone unturned.

“So does anyone here know what exactly the Secretary of State does?” Inman inquired of her audience.

Inman’s question was met with a chorus of unconfident grunts, mumbles, and unsure half-answers. Despite being one of the most important offices in the state, most people seem to lack a clear understanding of the many responsibilities it entails.

From overseeing the annual Christmas tree raising at the Capitol to issuing business licenses, the Secretary of State has a wide range of duties- perhaps the most important of which is monitoring elections and maintaining the voter registration system.

Inman addressed the recently reinstated voter ID law that would require Arkansans to produce a photo ID the next time they hit the ballots with scathing rhetoric.

“You cannot write a law that is applicable only to a certain group in society,” Inman said. “There are too many people left out of the voting process, and restrictive voter ID laws only serve to make it harder for an already marginalized part of our community to participate in the democratic process.”

The bill in question is a revival of a previous voter ID law that was struck down as unconstitutional by the Arkansas Supreme Court after being challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union. While the new bill has been revised to allow voters who fail to verify their vote with a photo ID on the day of the election to cast a provisional ballot (that may or may not be counted by the Arkansas Board of Election Commissioners, a function of the Secretary of State), critics of the bill still fear it will keep people from voting.

“I want to create more opportunities to vote,” Inman said. “It is one of the first interactions citizens have with their government, so things can go wrong if leadership doesn’t do their job right.”

Inman isn’t the only one to jump at the opportunity to take the open Secretary of State’s position. Her fellow Democratic candidate Dr. Anthony Bland (anthonybland.com) has also been vocal about voter’s rights. Republican candidates include State Rep. Trevor Drown (votetrevordrown.com), a U.S. army veteran who is one of the sponsors of the new voter ID law and as Secretary of State plans to expand the office’s military outreach, and incumbent Arkansas Commissioner of State Lands John Thurston (votejohnthurston.com), both of whom state redistricting in 2021 as major goals for them as Secretary of State.

Inman does seem to be, however, the only candidate with any actual experience with officiating elections, serving as Pulaski County Elections Director for 12 years, as well as monitoring more than a dozen elections in Eastern Europe and Central Asia over the last 15 years as an appointee of the U.S. Department of State.

Inman emphasized how important the Young Democrats are to her campaign, and encouraged students to go volunteer at susaninmanforarkansas.com.

“The only people I have working with my campaign are Young Democrats. You have no idea how excited people are to see young people going door to door and engaging in politics,” Inman said.

Whoever your choice for the next Secretary of State is, remember that to vote next year you will need to bring a photo ID with you, or you may cast a provisional ballot that you can verify by returning with a photo ID before noon on the Monday after the election. Another thing to remember is that Arkansas Secretary of State’s Office must issue all new voter ID cards completely free of charge.

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