SUSAN INMAN

Talk about vote suppression. The Garland County Election Commission left Susan Inman, the Democratic candidate for secretary of state, off the election ballot and early voting began without her as an option.

An employee said in a brief telephone conversation that the commission was occupied attempting to correct the problem. She said the ballot at the main election commission early voting site HAD been corrected but people voting at three other early voting sites were being asked to wait to vote.

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How many voted ballots without Inman’s name? “220,” the person on the phone said.

No word yet about how this happened. There’s some talk of new voting equipment being part of the explanation.

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UPDATE: Voting at all locations has resumed with a full ballot.,

There’s no corrective for ballots case before the error was fixed. Election officials note that voters are warned not to cast ballots until they are sure they’ve made correct choices.

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Gene Haley, chairman of the election commission, said officials discovered last week during a testing process that not all primary election winners had transferred electronically to the general election ballot. So some omissions had to be re-entered by hand. In the process, Inman’s name was left off. Her Republican candidates’ name was misspelled — John “Thurnston” instead of Thurston.

A voter intending to vote for Inman noticed the omission at 8:15 a.m. today and notified officials, who immediately halted voting until the error could be fixed, Haley said. But 222 ballots were completed by then.

He noted a sign is prominently posted about ballots, but he acknowledged the commission bore responsibility for the error.

Inman issued a statement:

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Today’s monumental mistake, which left my name off of Garland County’s early voting ballot, underscores the need for Arkansas to do its voting by mail. There are constant problems with these election machines and today’s error is just another in a long line of examples that prove it’s time for Arkansas to adopt a vote by mail system.”

It’s perhaps not relevant, but remember 2010? There was a gigantic foul-up in Democratic runoff voting in Garland County with a hard-fought U.S. Senate contest on the line. Democrats controlled the election commission then. Republicans are in charge now.