Monday, December 29, 2008

Sen. Baker Considers the Need for a Constitutional Right to a Secret Ballot

Veteran reporter and new comer blogger John Brummett writes today that an organization called Save our Secret Ballot (SOS) is pushing states to adopt a constitutional amendment guaranteeing a secret ballot. If you are like me, your first thought was don’t we already have a constitutional right to secret ballot? Apparently not! Congress is currently debating a misnamed act called the “Employee Free Choice Act” - “Card Check” for short. The Card Check legislation is a payback to the labor unions who have traditionally supported Democrat candidates and, among other things, eliminates the right of workers to a secret ballot on union votes.

Enter Arkansas Senator Gilbert Baker. Sen. Baker has been working with the supporters of an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution which would guarantee the right to a secret ballot including votes for “employee representation” (ie. labor unions.) Sen. Baker told the Tolbert Report in an email interview today, “Arkansas is a state with independent minded people that appreciate the value of the secret ballot. The state efforts to ensure the secret ballot are needed in the event that ‘card check,’ in the present form, passes at the federal level.”

Sen. Baker went on to say, “I believe that Arkansans understand the basic value of the secret ballot and want it protected. The best way to protect the secret ballot is to have an initiated constitutional amendment on the ballot and allow Arkansans to vote.” So this will definitely be a bill to follow during this next session. It will be interesting to see if this development puts added pressure on Sen. Blanche Lincoln who, after months of study, has still not taken a position on this issue.

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