Judge Allows University Students to Vote at School

The governor's daughter and other college students who had been blocked from voting in a dispute over residency are back on the Clark County voter rolls.

U.S. District Judge George Howard Jr. issued a temporary ruling Wednesday after hearing arguments for an immediate court order to allow students to vote in the general election.

The case, filed by four Ouachita Baptist University students and the wife of a student, claims that Circuit Judge John Thomas wrongly ruled last week that college students whose families live outside the county are ineligible to use their campus address for voting purposes and register to vote in the county.

Gov. Mike Huckabee's 20-year-old daughter, Sarah, a student at OBU in Arkadelphia, is one of the plaintiffs. Her father is seeking re-election and her mother, Janet Huckabee, is running for secretary of state.

Howard said the students would suffer irreparable harm if he did not issue the temporary order. He noted in a written order later that the action barring them from voting in Clark County was taken after the deadline had passed for them to register to vote elsewhere.

"Time is of the essence,'' his order said.

The judge set a Nov. 13 date to hear arguments on the merits of the case and said "the court finds that, in all likelihood, the plaintiffs will succeed.''

Some 910 students at OBU and neighboring Henderson State University in Arkadelphia were affected by the ruling.

The earlier ruling was made in a lawsuit filed by the son of a justice of the peace candidate being challenged by a Ouachita Baptist graduate.