Conviction could stop Tony Alamo from voting

Texarkana Gazette
October 12, 2006

Convicted felons can’t vote in state of Arkansas

The founder of the Tony Alamo Ministries, who recently registered to vote in Miller County, may not get the opportunity because he is a convicted felon.

In Arkansas, convicted felons cannot vote, according to Arkansas
Secretary of State Charlie Daniels.

Tony Alamo registered earlier this week to vote in the upcoming Nov. 7 general election. On the voter registration application, a copy of which was obtained by the Gazette, he marked the box saying “no” for the question, “Have you ever pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to, or found guilty of a felony without your sentence having been discharged or pardoned?”

Alamo, who listed his date of birth as Sept. 20, 1934, was sentenced to six years in federal prison in September 1994 after he was convicted in
U.S. District Court in Memphis, Tenn., of willful failure to file an income tax return and of knowingly filing a false return. He also was fined $210,000 and ordered to remain on probation for a year after his release.

He ended his federal sentence in the Texarkana, Texas, Federal
Correctional Institution and was released in December 1998.

Alamo was contacted Friday by Ann Nicholas, Miller County clerk and voter registrar, who questioned him about incorrectly marking the voter registration application.

Alamo said he was acting on the advice of an attorney.

Nicholas said she asked Alamo about his conviction in anticipation of being questioned by Fouke voters about a convicted felon registering to vote.

“We are not bound to scrutinize 24,000 voter registration applications to be certain they answer the five mandatory questions truthfully.
Ultimately, the person commits perjury if the answers are incorrect,” said Nicholas.

Perjury is the willful giving of false testimony under oath, she said.

“Someone will have to challenge his vote. At that point he would be responsible to prove allegations are incorrect,” said Nicholas.

The Gazette contacted Alamo about registering to vote and he said he talked with Texarkana attorney John Goodson.

“I met him and we were talking.” He said, “Why don’t you vote?” I told him I did federal time and thought I wasn’t able to vote,” Alamo said Friday. “He said I could vote. I haven’t really checked it.”

Goodson was unavailable for comment Friday afternoon.

“If I can’t vote, that’s OK,” said Alamo, who did not address why he provided incorrect information on the voter registration form.

The voting guidebook, “Pocket Guide to Voting in the Natural State” indicates a convicted felon may regain the right to vote after obtaining a pardon from the governor or after discharging a sentence.
Documentation must be provided to the county clerk. No documentation has been presented to the Miller County Clerk’s office regarding Alamo.

Tony Alamo Ministries became an issue with Fouke residents and the city council after armed guards from R&G Security, employed by the group, stopped motorists from traveling onto South Circle Drive. The street is about 500 feet in length. The security company has also stopped motorists from driving onto the property or parking lot of the ministries headquarters on the east side of U.S. Highway 71.

Alamo says he is becoming a “political football” and has been accused of giving money to the incumbent Mayor Cecil Smith. Alamo denied giving Smith money.

In: 2000-2007

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