Ballot problems have been reported in two state legislative races. Both impact Democrats — House candidates in Crawford and Benton County.
News release from Lou Reed Sharp, a Democrat opposing the re-election bid of Republican Rep. Charlene Fite in House District 80:
Lou Reed Sharp, co-founder of Circle of Life Hospice and the Democratic candidate for the Arkansas State House of Representatives, District 80 was contacted by Billy Yates, a voter in District 80 on Wednesday, October 21 because he was unable to cast his vote for her.
“Billy told me that he had voted in the morning. His wife voted in the afternoon. Both had gone to two different early vote sites in Crawford County, but they both had the same problem. My race was not on their ballot.”
Billy said, “My wife checked her sample ballot on VoterView before going to the polls. When she inserted her ballot into the voting machine, she noticed that after the presidential races, the ballot did not look right.”
She notified an election official, and she was given a ballot that was not pre-programmed with her precinct information. Then, the correct races appeared on the screen.
At an emergency Election Commission meeting at 7:00pm in Crawford County, the Election Commissioner Chairman, Bill Coleman, said seven precincts had been misprogrammed to show races that were not in their district. In total, 36 voters were impacted by the misprogramming. The problem was fixed yesterday, so voters should expect to see the proper races on the ballot for the remainder of the election.
Voters are encouraged to look at their sample ballot at www.voterview.ar-nova.org/
VoterView. Scroll to the end of the page to see your sample ballot.
The early voting ballots from Monday, October 19 through Wednesday, October 21 have been sealed in a box and will be kept separate from the rest of the early vote ballots.
As for the impacted voters, it is unclear at the moment what their remedy will be. Yates, the voter who contacted the Sharp campaign said, “I want to cast my vote for my state representative. I don’t want that right taken away.” Because the ballots are anonymous, and the impacted voters properly cast their vote in the presidential race and for the Arkansas Issues, it is a difficult election law question as to how to proceed.
Then there’s this from Jon Comstock, the Democratic candidate for the House seat vacated by Republican Grant Hodges.
Jon Comstock wants everyone voting in the House District 96 race to be aware of a
misleading discrepancy in the Ballot they will be given to vote (and which may have already misled Early Voting citizens).
The Sample Ballot published by the Benton County Election Commission and Secretary
of State told voters that there would be two voting decisions to be made for House District 96.
First Voting Decision: Since the incumbent Grant Hodges resigned before the term of
office had expired, Jill Bryant is listed as a Republican candidate for House District 96. On the Sample Ballot, potential voters are clearly told that her “Term To Expire On December 31, 2020”. Erroneously, this notification is NOT published as part of the electronic ballot that voters actually see. When voters first attempt to vote for House District 96, they ONLY see Jill Bryant’s name and they do NOT see the expiration date of her term of office, potentially causing some voters to conclude that they had no other choice and not understanding why they did not see Jon Comstock’s name on the ballot.
Second Voting Decision: Only if voters are willing to go to the next selection decision
do they see the House District 96 race for the term that starts January 2, 2021 between Jon Comstock, Democrat and Joshua Bryant, Republican.
Our Campaign has lodged a complaint with the Benton County Election Commission and
we understand they are currently reviewing the situation. We will update as soon as we know more. For now, please be ALERT to the need to go to the second selection choice for House District 96 and vote for A Better Way to Govern. Vote Jon Comstock for House District 96!