News from the Pulaski County Election Commission:
After ballots were printed, a spelling error was discovered. The name of David Alan Bubbus, one of seven candidates for the open at-large Position 9 seat on the Little Rock City Board of Directors, was misspelled as Bubbas.
Absentee ballots are already being distributed.
The commission will meet at 5:30 p.m. Monday and formally declare the ballot error. It will correct the notice of election and sample ballots sent to early voting sites (early voting begins Oct. 19), regular polls and voting centers. Notices of the error will be posted at polling sites.
I asked Bubbus about the error and he seems to have taken it in stride:
Thanks Max! I received a very kind call from the Pulaski County Election Commission and they sincerely apologized. I was very impressed with how serious and genuine the apology was. Everyone makes mistakes but they handled it right.
Fun note on my name. The myth goes that my grandfather came over from Greece at 13. He was too young to come over by himself and had to pretend to be another family’s child. He landed at Ellis Island in NY, and they misspelled his name from Pappadopoulos to Bubbus. Or maybe their handwriting was so bad that is wasn’t legible. Either way, this isn’t the first time my family’s name has been misspelled!
Other candidates for Position 9 are Dale Pekar, Leron McAdoo, Rohn Muse, Antwan Phillips, Glen Schwarz and Tom Horton.
About poll safety in the time of COVID-19. A little wrinkle popped up at the Oct. 1 meeting of the Election Commission. Chair Evelyn Gomez declared that she would not sign a Pulaski County COVID-19 protocol that was distributed to county employees. (Remarks at 1:56 on this YouTube audio of the meeting.) She said she was not a county employee and would not sign it. It includes mask-wearing and handwashing encouragement and rules on reporting positive tests or exposure to people who’ve tested positive, among others.
An election commission employee, Betty Green, pointed out that Gomez is considered a part-time county employee because she’s paid from county general funds as an election commissioner — $125 per meeting for the chairman and $100 for the other two commissioners, Kristi Stahr and Josh Price. Gomez and Stahr are the Republican members. Background: Gomez has been unhappy over Democratic County Judge Barry Hyde’s control of Election Commission staffing (which the law allows).
Gomez instructed Green to get clarification. Green told her in an email Friday: “I received a response this morning from HR regarding this form. I was told that the only ones that needed to sign the form are full-time employees. So, it is just the six of us that work in this office that need to sign the form. I was originally told that everyone on the payroll needed to sign the form.”
I was curious not so much about who had to sign the form but whether the election commissioners would FOLLOW the protocol.
Stahr didn’t respond to my question. Price said he signed the protocol. He wrote:
The health and safety of our Pulaski County Election Commission staff and poll workers is of the utmost importance during the pandemic. They are front line workers who are critical to ensuring the residents of Pulaski County have the ability to exercise their right to vote in the General Election. In fact, there could not be an election at all without the staff and pollworkers, therefore I will do everything I can to protect their health and well-being.
Gomez responded to my question by sending a copy of Green’s e-mail.
“See below. I have no further comment,” she wrote.
Not even to mask-wearing? I asked.
Mr. Poe can send you a copy of the mitigation procedures for the 2020 General Election which was passed unanimously by the election commission.
That should answer the question.
There is nothing further.
Indeed, the Election Commission has adopted guidelines for this election. They are comprehensive. You can read them here.
Still. There are CDC and White House coronavirus task force guidelines that certain people in high public positions don’t believe apply to them.
Gomez’s style is reminiscent. You might remember when she declared the election commission could no longer pay $10 a month for an Arkansas Times subscription (“Max Brantley’s little rag,” she called it).
She (and Stahr) could have simply said, yes, of course I’ll follow the guidelines the commission adopted.
That apparently was too big an ask for the chairman and the other Republican member of an Election Commission on which we are depending to conduct an election fair to all.