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Election commission: 'No races will be affected in vote certification process'

Posted: May 28, 2014 - 5:49pm

The Faulkner County Election Commission will certify five votes that weren’t counted among preliminary unofficial but complete results printed in this newspaper on May 21, and another 9 may be counted also.

It is not enough to change the outcome of any race in the county’s May 20 Primary Election.

The commission also gave the Log Cabin Democrat full precinct-by-precinct results, and those results will be compiled and printed in the next few days.

There were three provisional ballots that will be counted. These were included in the “provisional” stack, but no reason was given by the poll workers. Two absentee ballots were in the “provisional” stack because an absentee ballot clerk, basically a poll worker for absentee ballots, had issue with the voter’s signature. These voters were older (was born in the early 1920s) and the commission gave their signatures the benefit of the doubt. These five will be added to the count with the final certified vote is released.

The other nine ballots ended up in the provisional stack because they were not on the precinct voter list. These ballots will be checked against the voter list by the county clerk’s office, and may end up being counted.

The commission discussed an issue in which some poll workers failed to follow the proper protocol when questioning incoming voters. They are supposed to ask voters if they have any means to prove their identity only after they are asked their name and address. Instead, commissioner Paul Foster said during the meeting, they were being asked if they had their driver’s licenses.

Commissioner Betty Pickett said that “a friendly reminder” to poll workers regarding this protocol was in order. Foster said that something more strongly worded would be more appropriate, and stressed that no poll workers “were taught that.” Pickett will draft a notice to poll workers and County Clerk Melinda Reynolds will distribute it.

The commission also briefly discussed a reported issue involving a man believed to have been a poll worker or polling site sheriff at the Don Owen Sports Complex (sheriff is a title given to the main overseer of a polling site). According to some, this man rudely refused to post the results of that site’s vote as required by law when asked.

A member of the audience said that he was a witness to this incident, and generally confirmed the allegations in a formal complaint by another witness, incoming Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Rhonda Wood.

Pickett said that the commission had heard talk about concerns about the number of under votes in some races in which 10 percent or more voters failed to select a candidate. She said that they under votes didn't concern her, and were in line with the roughtly 10-percent under votes in the elections in other counties. 

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