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Democrat Blanche Lincoln has trouble voting in Arkansas. Been in Washington too long?

May 19, 2010 |  6:55 am

Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln and her husband Steve fill out paperwork in Little Rock to prove they can vote in the Democratic primary May 18, 2010 by AP Photo
When Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas went to the polls in Little Rock on Tuesday to cast her vote, there was a problem.

Election officials informed her that she had already voted absentee. So she had to produce her driver's license and voter ID card and was given a provisional ballot -- which will be counted only after election officials verify that she had not already voted.

"She can pretend to vote but she can't put a ballot in that box," 88th Precinct Chief Judge Arlette Miller told Fox News. "Our paperwork says she's already voted."

True, military families and frequent travelers often file for absentee ballots as a precaution. But in a year when incumbency is a liability and voters are punishing anyone who seems as if they've been in D.C. too long, it's a radioactive mistake. Without explaining why she thought she'd be out of town, Lincoln tried to put the best face on this miscalculation.

"We normally do this, you have to just fill out a form to ensure that they know that you haven't voted twice," Lincoln told reporters, explaining that she always requests a year's worth of absentee ballots to make sure she can vote in all of Arkansas' elections -- even the less publicized ones, like those for school board.

This is not only embarrassing, it could prove politically fatal. Facing a June 8 primary against Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, Lincoln will have to scramble to beat Halter. Lincoln has the backing of the White House and former President Bill Clinton. Halter has the support of labor unions and liberal advocacy groups like 

Plus he votes in Arkansas.

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo: Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln and her husband, Steve, fill out paperwork to cast ballots Tuesday after filing to vote absentee. Credit: Associated Press

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